Brick Wall of the Month: John Phillips

My brick wall for the month of April is John Phillips.

John Phillips, according to family information, was born in Horse Cave, Hart County, Kentucky, about 1808. I myself have found no proof of this, though I traveled to Horse Cave in the summer of 2011.

Kentucky is not a very easy place to research genealogy. Much documentation has been lost, and that which does exist is difficult to track down.

I did not find much in the way of research materials either in Horse Cave itself, or up the road in Munfordville, the county seat of Hart County.

John married Nancy Blane in Johnson County, Indiana, September 4, 1834. I found this documentation by accident, when researching some other family members. Though I am very glad for the information, it still leaves me confused: when did John move from Kentucky to Indiana? Census information reveals that Nancy Blane was originally from New Jersey. How did she get to Indiana? I found nothing further on either the Phillips or Blane families in Johnson County, Indiana.

John and Nancy moved to Missouri, where they had at least on child, Mary Ann Phillips. Mary Ann was born in Scotland County, Missouri.

John died in 1877, probably Scotland County, Missouri.

But what happened before that?

Who were his parents? Where were they from?

Why did he move to Indiana, and how did he meet Nancy?

Did he have any other children besides Mary Ann?


I welcome any ideas and thoughts about how to discover more regarding John Phillips!

Dalton Family Genealogy II

This is an update to the post Dalton Family Genealogy I, published on November, 29, 2012. When I figure out how to link to the first post, I will do so here.

This is information I was able to gather from visiting the Kansas City, Kansas area during the summer of 2013.

My great-grandmother, Nancy Dalton, was the daughter of John Dalton and Mary Phillips. I found a copy of Mary Phillips Dalton’s obituary at the Kansas City Library. It listed a number of her siblings who had outlived her. I am hoping to possibly track down more information regarding the Phillips and Dalton families by doing more research on these sibling families.

I also located the graves of both John and Mary Dalton in Kansas City, Kansas, at the Mount Calvary Catholic Church. Two surprises here: first, I was not aware that John and Mary were Catholic. If they were, I may be able to locate more about them and their families through the church records. Secondly, John and Mary are both buried in the “old” section of the cemetery (maybe before it was designated catholic?) but not together! In fact, Mary, who died in 1928, is buried at the top of the section, while John, who died in 1936, just eight years later, is buried at the bottom of the section, closest to the road.

My biggest find, however, was locating the marriage record between John’s parents, Francis Dalton and Rodantha Beach. They married in Macon County, Illinois, in 1853.

I am hoping to learn more about Francis, who was born in Northern Ireland in about 1827, and more about Rodantha and her family. Rodantha was born in Wayne County, Indiana to Jesse Beach and Arena Mendenhall. Rodantha’s family is described in the Beach Family Genealogy Posts, published earlier.

Francis may have arrived in New York from Northern Ireland in 1848. If this is true, then I may be able to find out exactly where he came from (such as which county in Ireland) and who his family was.

Collins Family Genealogy II

Update to Collins Family Genealogy I.

In an earlier post, I described my Collins line back to Hezekiah Collins and Sarah Jane Wood.
This post focuses on Sarah’s side of the family, at least in part.

Many years ago, I visited my grandmother’s cousin in Oregon. While she wasn’t able to provide me with any information further back than what I already had, she gave me a copy of a letter from someone in the family, and that was that.

At some point, I noticed the letter was from William Collins, but as he wasn’t my ancestor, I didn’t really focus on the letter much. Plus, it was all about people I didn’t know.

Flash forward an embarrassing number of years, when I was finally getting all of my paperwork into file folders, and I ran across the letter, again.

Now that I was more familiar with family members, and valued information on anything I could find, I looked at the letter, and realized who William Collins was: my 3x great-grandfather’s eldest brother, and the second child of Hezekiah and Sarah!

In fact, the letter was written to Sarah, my 4x great-grandmother, and the people mentioned whom I did not recognize were evidently family and neighbors she knew!

Hezekiah and Sarah had married in Albemarle County, Virginia in 1832. They then moved to Lewis County, Virginia (now West Virginia) and had all their children, except the last.

Apparently, Sarah not only kept in contact with the folks she left behind, but William went to visit all he could, and wrote Sarah about who he saw and who had passed.

The letter was written from Albemarle County in 1888. I have been able to track down some folks by following clues in the letter, but the handwriting and spelling leave much to interpretation, which creates its own challenge in turn.

The best I can tell is that Sarah may be a sibling to Richard Wood, Ransom Wood, and Eliza Loving. All three stayed in Albemarle County, with Eliza specifically in Scottsville. Benjamin Britt is probably a cousin, as is William Wood.

Based on this very loose evidence, I hope to soon determine who Sarah’s parents were.

I’m so grateful to have this piece of the puzzle… and to have had the opportunity to analyze it a second time!

If you are related to the Wood and/or Collins line, let me know. I’d love to hear from you.

April Fools Day

April Fools Day used to be a day of carefully thought-out jokes or pranks.

Now, the pranks are either really lame or potentially dangerous.

Maybe we could have Court Jesters Day, instead.

Obviously, the days of the revered court jester have long since passed, unless you are a regular attendee of Renaissance Faires.

So let’s bring back the costuming, the pageantry, the bad puns, the merrymaking, the laughter, the music, and the physical humor, and this April 1st, let’s all celebrate National Court Jester Day!

Don’t forget your whistles and bells!