Friday, May 31, 2013

The Missing Kernachans: Robert IV and Moore

The Obituary from the Nashville Christian Advocate for Robert Kernachan III, son of Robert Kernachan Jr and A. E. Ellen Simmons Kernachan reads:

ROBERT T. KERNACHAN died near Florence, Ala., Nov. 20, 1885 in his 31st year of age of accidental gunshot wound; married Blanche Moore, Jan. 18, 1881; 2 children.

The Florence Observer noted that they had lost one of their "most promising young men", that he was cleaning a gun and that it had accidentally discharged. He, leaving, a widow and 'two little children'. 

It was not noted whether or not these two children were male or female. However, in her will dated 1888, Robert's mother, Ellen, mentions a division of property in thirds, one third for son John S. Kernachan, one third for son William J Kernachan and one third to be split between grandsons Robert and Moore. 

Robert and Moore were the surviving minor children of eldest son Robert, who had passed 3 years prior to Ellen devising her will. Her will was witnessed by H. C. Jones and George P Jones. They were brothers of Jenny Keyes Jones Kernachan, who married William Jones Kernachan. Or perhaps father and brother, as both were named Henry Cox Jones and George was brother George Presley Jones. They were also distant relatives of Ellen's, being out of the the same old Virginia Jones/Simmons tree. 

These witnesses verified that the will was Ellen's and that she was of sound mind when the will was probated in 1992. There were no changes nor codicil's indicating that Robert and Moore were still alive in 1892.

I can find several mentions of their mother, Blanche Moore Kernachan, in records and newspapers, but no more mention of Robert or Moore. 

Blanche returned to her home county of Mecklenburg, Virginia, by 1920 and is also in the 1930 and 1940 censuses. However, she can not be located in the 1900 or 1910 census records. 

The November 14, 1891 edition of the Times Daily, of Florence, Alabama records:

Mrs. Blanche Kernachan, who has been attending the New England Conservatory of Music, returned last Saturday, and is now at her home in the Reserve. Coming south, she spent several days at her old home in Virginia. 

This was the year before her mother-in-law Ellen died.

We find out that in 1897, she had been "absent in Boston for two years past" and had returned home.

Blanche's return home from Boston

She is listed in the Boston University Catalogue as being in Dorchester, Massachusetts:
Boston University Catalogue

We learn that in 1903, she was leaving Alabama again to 'pursue her studies in music'.

Article from Florence Times

Ms. Blanche made the newspapers in both Alabama, her husbands home state; Virginia, her home state, and Massachusetts, where she attended school and taught. She also attended college in Tennesee.

Before her marriage, she is listed as attending Belmont College in Nashville, Tennesee.

Milady in Brown Yearbook.

Her nieces by marriage, Carrie Moore Kernachan and Ellen Simmons Kernachan II also attended Belmont.

Sale of Lots 5 and 9 in Florence, Alabama

In 1916, she sold two lots in Lauderdale County. She does not show up in either the 1900 or the 1910 census.

In 1927, she is listed as an instructor at the College of William and Mary, one of the oldest in Virginia.

Catalogue College of William and Mary

In the census records, we can pick Blanche up as a child. She and her sister Elva both married Kernachan brothers. They were distant relatives through the Simmons line. Their father, Samuel T. Moore was the son of  Robert Moore 1800-1836 and Elizabeth James "Betsy" Simmons 1802-1852 from Mecklenburg County, Virginia.

Blanche Moore
Age in 1860:1
Birth Year:abt 1859
Home in 1860:Regiment 98, Mecklenburg, Virginia
Post Office:Tanners Stone
Value of real estate:View Image
Household Members:
Saml T Moore25
Elvira Moore22
Cora Moore2
Blanche Moore1

Blanche Meere
[Blanche Moore
Age in 1870:11
Birth Year:abt 1859
Home in 1870:Flat Creek, Mecklenburg, Virginia
Post Office:Boydton
Value of real estate:View Image
Household Members:
Samuel T Meere36
Ehara A Meere34
Carrie Meere13
Blanche Meere11
Mattie Meere10
Liucijus Meere5
Lucy Meere4
Samuel T Meere2
Robert H Meere6/12
Margaret L Wonn22
Lucy Simmons14
Florence Simmons

It is after this census that Blanche Moore disappears from the censuses until 1920. Her family appears in the 1880 Mecklenburg County, Virginia census without her, even her older sister Carrie.

She may have been in college at this time. What is on record is her marriage to Robert T. Kernachan in Mecklenburg County, Virginia on January 18, 1881 noted as the daughter of S. T. Moore. Robert had traveled to Virginia to marry her. How had he met her? Or did the Simmons distant cousins keep in touch and decide this to be a proper match?

The two sons would have been born between the 1881 marriage and the 1885 death of their father as they are mentioned in the obituary.

They were alive in 1888 when their grandmother Ellen Simmons Kernachan died and mentioned them in her will.

By 1902, Blanche shows up as a music teacher in Roanoke, Virginia.
Mrs Blanche Kernachan
Residence Year:1902
Street Address:355 Highland Av SW
Residence Place:Roanoke, Virginia
Occupation:Music Tclir
Publication Title:Walsh's Roanoke, Virginia City Directory

By 1916, She has been nominated as
Blanche Kernachan
Post Office Location:Radcliffe, Mecklenburg, Virginia
Appointment Date:13 Mar 1916
Volume #:80
Volume Year Range:1891-1930
 the Postmistress of Radcliff, Virginia. She held that position for a number of years.

Then by 1920, she is back living in the town of her birth, South Hill, with her younger sister Nina Moore Allen.

Birth Year:abt 1865
Home in 1920:South Hill, Mecklenburg, Virginia
Relation to Head of House:Sister-in-law
Marital Status:Widowed
Father's Birthplace:Virginia
Mother's Birthplace:Virginia
Able to Read:Yes
Able to Write:Yes
Neighbors:View others on page
Household Members:
Tom W Allen37
Nina Allen41
Thomas E Allen8
Caroline Allen6
Sam Harrigen Allen4
George Allen2
George Allen24
Edmund Allen20
Blanche Kernochan55

In 1930, she and another sister, the never-married Willie, are living together.

Blanch Kernachan
[Blan A Hemacan] 
Birth Year:abt 1859
Home in 1930:South Hill, Mecklenburg, Virginia
View Map
Marital Status:Widowed
Relation to Head of House:Head
Father's Birthplace:Virginia
Mother's Birthplace:Virginia


Military Service:

Rent/home value:

Age at first marriage:

Parents' birthplace:
Neighbors:View others on page
Household Members:
Blanch Kernachan71
Willie H Moore46

A 1922 Lawsuit Moore v Kernachan, is brought up as a cited case and took place in Mecklenburg County, Virginia. It is a suit involving S. T. Moore, in his own right, as executor of E. A. Moore, deceased against one Kernachan and others.  As S. T. Moore was likely Samuel Moore, Jr. and E. A Moore, their mother Elva and the Kernachan he vs. was likely Blanche, the only known Kernachan in Mecklenburg County, Virginia at that time.

Moore vs Kernachan, Mecklenburg County, Virginia

Blanche Kernachan
Estimated Birth Year:abt 1859
Marital Status:Widowed
Relation to Head of House:Sister
Home in 1940:South Hill, Mecklenburg, Virginia
View Map
Inferred Residence in 1935:South Hill, Mecklenburg, Virginia
Residence in 1935:Same House
Sheet Number:7A
Attended School or College:No
Highest Grade Completed:College, 1st year
Weeks Worked in 1939:0
Income Other Sources:Yes
Neighbors:View others on page
Household Members:
Nine M Allen59
Samuel H Allen25
George R Allen22
Blanche Kernachan81
Willie H Moore57
Howard Baswell34
Preston Ozmor18
In her last census, Blanche is back living with Nina again.

She is buried in Mecklenburg County, Virginia, and noted as the wife of Robert T. Kernachan, but where are her sons? They are not buried with her.

Blanche Moore Kernachan
Birth Date:1859
Age at Death:83
Death Date:1942
Burial Place:South Hill, Mecklenburg County, Virginia, USA

Her sister and at the same time, sister-in-law Elva, named for their mother, died young at age 59. They had married brothers. Blanche is mentioned in her obituary, yet an obituary for Blanche can not be located. Elva named her son Robert T. Kernachan. He would have the the fifth Robert in the known line. 

So what happened to the young sons of Robert and Blanche? Did they die between 1888, when mentioned by their grandmother and their mother's return to college? Did she leave them with relatives? 

What happened to Robert 4 and Moore? Two little boys of no further mention. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Ellen's Will

The Last Will and Testament of A. E. Ellen Simmons Kernachan gives away a lot of detail concerning her personality, her devotion and her business accumen. She was one sharp lady, it's very clear. Well-educated, well-situated, religiously devout and moral, and full of horse-sense.

She out-lived her husband by nearly 30 years and her oldest son by ten. She was survived by only two sons, John Simmons Kernachan I, and Dr. William Jones Kernachan and by the two sons of her oldest son Robert III, named in the will as Robert and Moore. 

The easiest way to detail her will, as it is so clear, is just to present it in its entirety. I give you, Mrs Ann Elizabeth Ellen Simmons Kernachan:

Last Will and Testament of A. E. Ellen Kernachan

I A. E. Ellen Kernachan do make and publish this as my last will and testament hereby revoking all former wills by me made.
1st I wish all my just debts paid.
2nd I give and bequeath to the Board of Church Extention (sic) of the Methodist Episcopal Church South Five Thousand dollars of the Capitol Stock of the Florence Land Mining and Manufacturing Company to be used by said Board for Purposes of Church Extention(sic) in such manner as in the opinion of said Board the best interest of the  M. E. Church South may require.

3- I hereby give and bequeath to the Board of Missions of the Methodist Church Episcopal Church South Five Thousand dollars of the Capital Stock of the Florence Land Mining and Manufacturing Company to be used by said Board for Missionary purposes in such way as in their opinion the best interest of the M. E. Church South may require. 

4- I give and devise to my sons John S. and Wm J Kernachan in Equal parts the quarter acre of land owned by me in Florence, Alabama & being a part of the Brandon tract of land. 

5- All the remainder of my Estate I give and devise to my said sons John S and Wm J Kernachan and to my grandchildren Robert and Moore Kernachan.  Each of my said Sons taking one third and my two said grandchildren the other third. 

6- It is my intention to give the 100 shares of Stock mentioned in items 2 and 3 of this will to the Methodist Episcopal Church but the same is to be paid over to said Board as soon as practicable after my death to be by them used for the purposes herein before indicated. 

7- My Executor herein after named is given full power to manage and control, sell or otherwise dispose of the property herein given to my said grandchildren and to make such investments of the same as he may think best. In a word my said Executor shall have as much power in the management, control, disposition investment and reinvestment of said interests as if they were his own until the youngest of my said grandchildren shall arrive at the age of twenty-one years when their said interests or  estates shall be turned over to them. Should either of said grandchildren die before the period last named the survivor shall take his interest in estates.

8- I hereby appoint my son John S Kernachan the executor of this my last will and testament and direct that he be not required to give bond as such and that he be not required to make any settlement or settlements of his Executorship in any Court.

Signed sealed published and declared to be my last will and testament at Florence, Alabama on this 7th day of January 1888 in the presence of Henry C. Jones, & George P. Jones who in my presence and in the presence of each other have subscribed the same as witnesses given under hand and seal.

                                            A. E. Ellen Kernachan

Monday, May 27, 2013

Ann Elizabeth Ellen Simmons Kernachan

In the histories of Lauderdale County, Alabama, mentions are made of very early cotton mills, that drove the post-Civil War economy. In a chapter entitled "Producing After the Civil War", the following statement was made ' A lady named Kernachan was one of the three proprietors of Brandon Mills.'    That lady was Ellen Kernachan.

Ann Elizabeth Ellen Simmons Kernachan was born about 1829 in  Lawrence County, Alabama. She was the daughter of John J. Simmons and Rebecca Ann Charlotte Simmons. Rebecca was the daughter of Francis Jones and her mother was Judith Booth Jones.

Ellen, as she was known, first shows up in the 1850 census as a young lady, age 21, living with her mother Rebecca and sister Minerva, with her uncle James C Jones and his wife Matilda B Kernachan Jones, their young daughters, and Sarah Noel, the sister of Judith Booth Jones.

Ellen Sammond
[Ellen Simmons
Birth Year:abt 1829
Home in 1850:Athens, Limestone, Alabama
Family Number:644
Household Members:
James C Jones31
Matilda B Jones25
Eliza A Jones4
Mary L S Jones0
Sarah noll Jones67
Rebecca Sammond39
Ellen Sammond21
Rebecca M Sammond17
Amanda Harriet36

On May 10, 1854, she marries Matilda's brother, her first cousin once removed, Robert Thomas Kernachan II. His mother Martha was a sister to Judith Booth Jones and Sarah Booth Noel. All daughters Thomas Booth of Mecklenburg County, Virginia.
:A E Ellen Honachan
[A E Ellen Kernachan
Age in 1860:30
Birth Year:abt 1830
Home in 1860:District 2, Lauderdale, Alabama
Post Office:Florence
Value of real estate:View Image
Household Members:
Robert T Honachan32
A E Ellen Honachan30
John S Honachan3
William J Honachan1
Rebecca A C Simmons49
Salley Noel76

By 1860, she has had three young sons, Robert T III, born 1855, who was likely at school, John Simmons Kernachan 1857 and William Jones Kernachan 1859. Her mother and Great-Aunt Sallie are living with them as well.
Name:Ellen Kernachan
Age in 1870:41
Birth Year:abt 1829
Home in 1870:Township 3 Range 11, Lauderdale, Alabama
Post Office:Florence
Value of real estate:View Image
Household Members:
Ellen Kernachan41
Robert Kernachan15
Jno Kernachan13
Wm Kernachan11

By 1870, her husband has been murdered and she is shown living with her 3 young sons.
Name:Ellen Karnahan
Birth Year:abt 1830
Home in 1880:Florence, Lauderdale, Alabama
Relation to Head of House:Self (Head)
Marital Status:Widowed
Father's Birthplace:Virginia
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina
Neighbors:View others on page
Cannot read/write:


Deaf and dumb:

Otherwise disabled:

Idiotic or insane:
Household Members:
Ellen Karnahan50
William Karnahan21
Judy Noel68
Mattie Laywood14
By the 1880 census, only youngest son, William, is living at home with her. He will later become a surgeon. The other members of the household are employees.

Ellen Kernachan became the sole proprietor of her husband and uncle-in-laws plantation and Cotton Mill. She would merge her business with that of Charles Brandon.

From the Florence Herald, Thursday, September 28, 1899.

Board of Education Honors Memory of This Lamented Citizen.

     The board of education of this city has honored itself in naming the East Florence school "The Charles M. Brandon School." This action was taken at the meeting of the board on Monday night, and it is a graceful compliment to the memory of one who was, until his death, one of Florence's most highly esteemed citizens.
     In order to fittingly dedicate the new building to the memory of the lamented gentleman for whom it has been named, exercises will be held at the school building next Monday afternoon, when the following program will be carried out:
 "Sketch of the Life of the Late Chas. M. Brandon," Dr. W. J. Kernachan.
Chas. M. Brandon was one of the most popular men who ever lived in Florence, and the dedicatory exercises will prove of especial interest to those who knew and honor him. He was a friend of the people of East Florence and showed his interest in them in many ways, being a leader in the cause of education and christianity [sic] in that section.

 Dr. Kernachan gave a short sketch of Mr. Brandon's life, which was not only appreciated but heartily endorsed by all, for they all knew Chas. M. Brandon and loved him.

From "A Walk Through the Past":


Named for Camilla Madding Coffee and her husband Capt. Alexander Donelson Coffee. Camilla gave the land for this original school in memory of her husband wo was a son of General John Coffee. This campus faced Hermitage Drive at the intersection of North Walnut Street. In 1939 the Kernachan Estate, consisting of 32 acres bordering Royal Avenue and Hermitage Drive, was purchased for the modern Coffee High School which opened August 29, 1951. The old Coffee High School building became the Appleby Junior High School when the upper grades moved to the new location.Excerpt of "A Walk Through The Past" 
By all accounts, Charles Brandon was a good man and Ellen Kernachan did wise by collaborating her business interests with him. She set her descendants off to a good life for generations to come, by not failing or faltering as many of this era had. She picked up her skirts and set off to business and sent her sons to college. She had grand-daughters and great-granddaughters named for her. 

After the death of her husband in 1868, Robert Sr., his uncle, added a codicil to his will naming Ellen as executrix and primaty heir. Ellen and Robert Jr., had 3 sons: Robert Thomas III, John Simmons, and William Jones. Robert and John would marry sisters: Blanche and Elva Moore from Mecklenburg County, Virginia. They were educated young ladies with connections to the Simmons family. 

They were the daughters of Samuel T. Moore and Elva Harwell. Samuel T Moore was the son of Robert Moore and Elizabeth James "Betsy" Simmons, all of Mecklenburg County, Virginia. I have not researched the Simmons family trees, but with a common surname and a common origin, the likelihood that Betsy Simmons was related to Ellen's father John J Simmons is very probable. 

William Jones Kernachan married Jenny Keyes Jones, yet another relative, related through the Virginia Jones line and also a descendant of the prominent Keyes family, who were also early planters in the Shoals area of Alabama. Jenny was the daughter of  Henry Cox Jones and Martha Lousia Keyes.

The following is the obituary for Henry Cox Jones
"Henry Cox Jones, lawyer, was born January 23, 1821, near Russellville, Franklin County, and died June 20, 1913, at Florence, son of William Stratton and Ann Harris (Cox) Jones, the former a native of Amelia County, Virginia, born in 1798, and died in 1874, came from Virginia in 1813, and located at Huntsville, moved to Franklin County in 1819, and settled on a large plantation near Russellville; grandson of Thomas Speck and Prudence (Jones) Jones, who lived in Amelia County, Virginia, the former a colonel in the Revolutionary army; and of Henry and Judith (Eldridge) Cox, who lived at Huntsville, Madison County; great-grandson of Peter Jones, of Dinwiddy County, Virginia, an officer in the British army who was sent to America to fight the Indians, and of Thomas and Martha (Bolling) Eldridge, the latter a descendant of John Rolf and Pocahontas, fourth generation."The ancestors of the Jones family came from Wales. He was raised on a plantation near Russellville, and obtained his early education in the schools of that place, under the instruction of John Wyatt Harris. (He was the father of Colonel John Wyatt Harris) and was graduated from LaGrange College in 1840. He studied law in college under Prof. Tutwiler, and later under Hon. Daniel Coleman of Athens. He was admitted to the bar in 1841 in Franklin County. He was elected Probate Judge of the county, and resigned the office after eighteen months to become a representative of Franklin County in the state legislature. He was re-elected to the legislature in 1844, and was sent to the State Senate in 1853. He moved to Florence in 1856, and continued his law practice. In 1860 he was a Douglas elector, and the following year represented the county at the Secession Convention, where he refused to vote for or sign the Ordinance of Secession. Through he was an opponent of secession, he was elected to the Provisional Congress of the Confederate States of America and served in the body for one year. During the war he was engaged in the manufacture of cottons and woolens under a contract for the Confederate government. After the war he resumed the practice of law at Florence. He was associated at times with Sydney C. Posey and the Hon. Josiah Patterson. During the reconstruction period he was chairman of the Democratic Central Committee for five years. In 1876 he was a Tilden elector, and later in that year he was elected solicitor for the eighth district. He was re-elected to that office for two more terms, holding the position in all for eighteen years. He was a Democrat, a Methodist and a Mason. Married, October 13, 1844, at Athens, to Martha Louisa, who died at her home in Florence, May 6, 1887, daughter of George and Nelly (Rutledge) Keys, who lived in East Tennessee. ***** Children: (1) William Stratton, who served in the C. S. Army under Forest and was killed at Pulaski, Tennessee; (2) Bertha, married Lindsey Melbourne Allen; (3) George Pressly; (4) Ellen Rivers; (5) Henry Cox, deceased; (6) John Rather, deceased: (7) Jennie Keyes, married William Jones Kernachan; (8) Martha Bolling, married Thomas Sadler Jordan; (9) Robert Young; Wade Keyes, deceased."The above biographical sketch of Judge Jones is taken from Dr. Owen's "History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography." Mrs. Bertha Allen, his eldest daughter, still resides at Phil Campbell and is one of the oldest residents of the town. Her husband, Lindsey Melbourne Allen, was the pioneer settler and merchant of Phil Campbell.From the book: "Distinguished Men, Women and Families of Franklin Co., Alabama," by R. L. James, pub. cir. 1927-1929, pages 56-57. Copy of book located in the Franklin County Library, Russellville, Alabama. 

Ann Elizabeth Simmons Kernachan's will was probated on November 14, 1892. The contents will be the next post.