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Jesse McPherson

Posted: July 6th, 2011, by Robyn

“The “Cave Hut Cliff”

Taken from


“The “Cave Hut Cliff”

Jesse McPherson was probably the first of the first-comers who settled in the southeastern part of the county. According to one tradition he arrived upon the scene before either Pond or Caney stations were started. It is said that during 1790, or before, he left his wife and two or three children in Virginia and came to Kentucky, and while looking for a place to settle selected a tract of land three miles from what later became the town of Cisney or Rosewood. He spent the winter and spring clearing two fields, one near the foot of a cliff facing a valley leading to Clifty Creek, and another on the top of the same cliff. In the meantime he lived in his “cave hut” near his bottom field. This improvised house was made by erecting two short walls of logs in front of a small cove at the foot of the cliff, and placed in such a way that the top of the concave opening in the cliff served as a roof and the rock wall of the cliff and the two log walls served as walls to the “cave hut.” The following summer, after having set out a crop of corn in each of his fields, he returned to Virginia for his family. He brought them to Kentucky and they lived in the “cave hut” until a log cabin on the bluff was finished. A few years later, or about 1800, he began building the spacious house known as the Jesse McPherson house, now occupied by William H. Pearson and his wife, the latter a great-granddaughter of Jesse McPherson. The logs used in the construction of the “cave hut” have long ago disappeared, but the rock-roofed cove in “Cave Hut Cliff” has for more than a century been used as a hay bin.

Jesse McPherson was one of Muhlenberg’s best-known pioneers. When the county was organized he was appointed one of the justices of the peace. He ran a tanyard, horse mill, and distillery for many years. Tradition says that he feared nothing. On one occasion his neighbor Billings was attacked by a bear whose cub he had taken. McPherson, hearing the cry for help, rushed to the rescue and killed the animal with a hickory club. A few years later McPherson took a trip to Arkansas, and upon his return showed Billings some hickory nuts he had brought from that State. Billings suggested that they plant one of the nuts where McPherson had saved his life from the ferocious bear. This was done, and to-day a large hickory tree, standing near the “Cave Hut Cliff,” marks the spot where, as one of the local oracles puts it, “Billings came near getting the stuffings squeezed out of him by a big bear.

Jesse McPherson House

Irish American history: 1720-1790

Posted: February 21st, 2011, by Robyn




The first significant wave of Irish American immigration came in the 1720s. This period saw the arrival of the Scots-Irish, a term used in North America (but not elsewhere) to denote those who came from Ireland but had Scottish Presbyterian roots.

Philadephia was the most popular destination port for Scots-Irish immigrants to America, mainly because the linen trade routes were already well established. They then moved into the Appalachian regions, the Ohio Valley, New England, The Carolinas and Georgia.


Unlike the 19th century chapter of Irish American history, when Catholic Irish immigrants turned their back on the land, most Scots-Irish immigrants continued their farming traditions.


Despite the official line, small numbers of Catholics also arrived in this period. They sailed from the southern Irish ports of Cork and Kinsale and some settled communities in Virginia and Maryland.


There were peaks and troughs in numbers of immigrants during these years. The rate of emigration was high in the late 1720s, and low in the 1930s, before rising in the 1740s and continuing to grow until the 1760s when some 20,000 departed from Ulster ports alone. From 1770 to 1774 the human traffic peaked with the arrival of some 30,000 mostly Scots-Irish immigrants in America.


By 1790, America had a white population of 3,100,000. Nearly half a million (447,000) are estimated to have been of Irish stock (either Irish-born or of Irish ancestry). Of these, some two-thirds (about 300,000) are thought to have originated in the province of Ulster.

From the Irish American Toolkit

Christopher Harris

Posted: June 26th, 2010, by Robyn

Will of Christopher Harris

Christopher Harris of Madison County, KY

 Will Book A-page 54, 55.


 It was transcribed by Eileen Niederkorn; I have added some paragraph breaks for easier reading.


            In the name of God Amen. I Christopher Harris being through the abundant mercy and goodness of God tho weak in body yet of perfect understanding and memory do constitute this my last will & Testament and desire it should be reviewed by all as such. Imprimis that I will & Desire that my first Children (Viz) Dabney Harris, Sarah Martin, Robert Harriss, Mourning Jones, Christopher Harrifs, & Mary Jones should have the following negroes (excepting thirty pounds out of my son Dabneys Legacy which is to be paid by the Executors of this Part of my Will for the use & Benefit of my wife and Other Children) (Viz) Ritter and her Children, Pomp, Moses, Allice, George, Betty, Lucy and Delphy the above Negores to be Divided Agreeable to Cornelias Dabneys Seniors


 Will and I do appoint Foster Jones, and Christoph Harrifs as Executors of the above part of this will and as to the Ballance of my Estate I Direct that first my Debts shall be paid out of what money I have by or is owing to me the house where I live I Direct should be finished which together with the tract of land whereon I live, I leave to my Dear & loving wife during her life and at ther death to son Overton Harrifs as to the Ballance of my Negroes (David, Cate, Fanny, Stephen, and Eddy together with my House hold furniture Stock of every kind and Plantation utensels I desire that my wife may have the whole Benefit of them during her life or widowhood and if she should Marry the whole to be sold and Equally Divided amongst her & her children as to my Lands on Muddy Creek I will and Bequeath them as follows, the Drowning Creek Tract of land


 I will and Bequeath to my son John Harrifs the Sycamore Spring Tract to my son Benjamin Harris the tract on which my son Wm. has Built to my son Harris and the Tract Clalled the Holly Tract to my son Barnabas Harrifs and my land in Albemarle County together with the Stock that is thereon I direct shall be sold and that my sons James and Samuel Harris shall Receive of the money as much as Col John Miller & Robert Rodes shall Judge the land to be worth that I will’d to my Other sons Viz to be made Equal to them, as to my three Daughters Viz Jane Gentry-Margret Harris, and Isabel Harris my will and Desire is that Jean Gentry should Receive ten pounds and Margret and Isbel Harris to have fifty pounds apeice out of the Ballance of what my Albermarld land and the Proffits arising from that place and if that should not be Sufficient that It shall be made up to htem out of any of Personal Estate that my wife and Executors after nemtioned shall think best as to my lands on Sinking Waters my will is that if they are obtained it should be sold and Wqually divided amongst my last Set of Children and I do appoint my dear & loveing wife with John Sappington and John Harris to execute that part of my will that respects my wife and her Children as witnefs my hand & seal this twentyeth day of February one thousand seven hundred and ninety four.




Hartly Sappington

Christopher Harrifs

 Rich’d Sappington


 Joseph Wells At a Court held for Madison County on Tuesday the 15th day of March 1794 This Will was proved to be the last will & testament of Christopher Harris by the oath of Joseph Wells, Hartly & Richard Sappington witnefses thereto and ordered to be recorded. Teste Will Irvine


 CMC Typed as spelled in will.

 Transcription found on this site.

My thoughts:

The will of Christopher Harris is important in the documentation of Mourning Harris-Jones parentage.  Morning Harris and Foster Jones were the parents of Nancy Jones wife of Richard Sappington.  Richard Sappington was witness to the will and John Sappington was made co-executor of Christopher Harris’s estate.  However, it is impossible to tell from the will if the Richard Sappington witness is the husband of Nancy Jones and John Sappington the co-executor was the father of Richard.  Given the connection of the Harris, Jones and Sappington families this is most likely the case.




Old Southern Bible Records

Posted: June 23rd, 2010, by Robyn

Benjamin Brown 

Benjamin Brown b. 16 Sep 1786. d. 18 Aug 1863, m. Eliz. Brown b. 12 Nov 1790. (questionable phrase may say “first wife”) 


Wm b. 25 Aug 1809

Joseph b. Sep 19 1811

John b. Dec 1813

Mary Ann b. 19 Dec 1813, twin of John above

Jesse b. 14 … 1816

Levney b. 11 Mar 1819

Davis b. 9 April 1821

Daniel C. b 5 April 1824

Benj R. b 11 May 1826

Jas. Swift b. 10 Aug 1828

(Benj. Brown was a resident of Guilford Co., N.C. Eliz., wife of Benj brown was the dau. Of Josiah & Eliz. Loftin Lambeth.  This data given by owner of Bible, Wisdom Brown Aydelette, 1202 Spring Garden St. , Greensboro, N.C.)


The above transcription was taken from the book:  Old Southern Bible Records, compiled by Memory Aldridge Lester, published 1974.

Other family bible transcriptions from the “Old Southern Bible Records” I have are:

Zachariah Smith Brooks

Absalom Rhodes Brown

Jethro Brown

William Dinkins

*James William Doggett

George D. Holcomb

*George Thompson Holman

*John Kernodle

John Kincaid, Sr.

*has Lambeth connections

Feel free to contact me for further information on these transcriptions.

Herbert Ellsworth Fitzjerrell

Posted: June 20th, 2010, by Robyn


Herbert E. Fitzjerrell, son of Meredith Fitzjerrell and Cora.

Thanks to Melissa for the photo!

Catherine Behan-Walsh

Posted: June 10th, 2010, by Robyn

Behan-Walsh Tombstones

A great big thank-you to Nancy Mattox, Find-A-Grave volunteer who photographed the tombstones of Catherine Behan-Walsh and her husband James Walsh; Catherine was the daughter of Andrew and Mary Behan and sister to Michael Behan.  Catherine and her husband are buried at Calvary Cemetery in Toledo, Ohio.  All research has indicated that Catherine and James were childless, again thanks to Nancy for taking the time out of her day to photograph these stones.



If you are interested in helping other genealogist around the country and world you can become a Find-A-Grave photo volunteer. 


From the Find-A-Grave FAQ’s

“A photo volunteer is someone who is willing to take photos of headstones within a given zip code.   The photo volunteer program is currently only available in the United States. Find A Grave does not allow photo volunteers to charge money for their services.”

Dillon Cemetery

Posted: June 7th, 2010, by Robyn

Dillon  Cemetery



Transcribed from: Another Job Done by Dianne Peck, page 15.


            Sterling Swearingin has headed up an energetic undertaking of cleaning up this old family burial plot.  The brush had completely overtaken the spot and it had become a hiding place for baby claves as it was in the center of a large cow pasture.  Plans are underway for stump removal, erection of overturned stones and a new fence.

            At some time a loved one spent time to pour a concrete cover over a burial spot in the Dillon Cemetery and erect large rocks for the head and foot stones.  They neglected to scratch any information on the concrete before it dried. (Picture on pg. 13)

            “We carved not a line, and we raised not a stone.  But we left him anyone with his glory.”

            An old newspaper article:

            Died-at Edmonson, January 19, 1900, George, son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Peak, age 7, of pneumonia.  Burial at the Black Oak Cemetery in the presence of a large number of friends.

            Evidently no marker was ever place for this little one and because of there being tow Black oak Cemeteries, his final resting place is unknown.

            During the final cleanups the stone of D.C. Trump was uncovered.  He died September 8, 1900 at the age of 58.  Could this possibly be the grandfather of Donald?


 The map below shows the location of the Dillon Cemetery.  The Dillon Cemetery is marked as #2 on the map, the Black Oak Cemetery is marked as #1 and the final resting place for John Tyree is marked on the map as #21. 

If the weather cooperates my intention is to visit these three cemeteries this week.


Memorial Day

Posted: May 31st, 2010, by Robyn

EPSON DSC picture

Wesley Lambeth:  Osage County Home Guard, Civil War


Michael Behen:  47th Indiana Infantry Company B, Civil War



Wyatt Lambeth:  WWII


   George Meyers, Bob Behen, Jack Reuter:  WWII


Robert Anders, WWII


Jack Dillon:  France-Cold War Era