Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Thursday, November 19, 2015

An Isolated Empire: A History of Northwest Colorado

Athearn, Frederic J. An Isolated Empire: A History of Northwest Colorado. Denver: Colorado State Office, Bureau of Land Management, 1976.

This useful government publication contains the following chapters:

  1. Northwestern Colorado Prior to Exploration
  2. The Fur Trade
  3. Exploration in Northwestern Colorado
  4. Mining and Transportation in Early Western Colorado
  5. Confrontations: Settlement Versus the Ute Indians
  6. Settlement in Middle Park and the Yampa Valley
  7. Development of the Cattle and Sheep Industry
  8. Mining and Transportation 1890-1920
  9. The "Moffat Road" and Northwestern Colorado, 1903-1948
  10. Development of Northwestern Colorado 1890-1940

It can be found online in the HathiTrust Digital Library or in many Federal Depository Library Program libraries.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Learning from Facebook: Camp Crossville

A former professor at the university where I worked is now employed by a larger state university. He recently shared the following Q & A as his status:

Q: Why are there so many German and Italian surnames in Crossville, TN?

A: Because during WWII, captured German and Italian officers were held at the POW camp there. Some "trusties" were released to work on local farms. Locals came to the fence and bartered with them. The folks of Crossville were so kind that when the war was over, many of the prisoners went back to Europe, got their families, and moved to Crossville.

I found this interesting from a genealogical standpoint.

I learned through comments on the blog post that the camp is now a 4-H camp.

The professor also linked to an interesting and well-documented article entitled "'To Win Our War with Butter and Beefsteaks': Camp Crossville and the Treatment of Axis Prisoners of War" written by Gregory Kupsky.

The most interesting comment of all was by the daughter of one of the Germans held there who returned to Germany and moved to the United States after taking five years to convince his wife about how kind Americans were.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Falling Behind

Sometimes life just sort of catches up with you. I'd been trying to keep posting ahead with the blog so I wouldn't fall behind, but now I'm behind because my life has outpaced the scheduled posts.

I spent Thursday and Friday of last week in Nashville. I spent Saturday in Winston-Salem. Sunday was spent at church. Yesterday, I spent time with the kittens, then participated in a song service at a retirement home, then worked until late.

Hopefully I will get this blog back on track, but the posts may be sporadic until I can build up a few posts!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Did the Ridings family live in Smith County, Tennessee?

Did the Ridings family who moved to Monroe County, Mississippi live in Smith County, Tennessee prior to their arrival? Plenty of online genealogies say that they did. Most say their children were born there from about 1816 to 1826. I only got to spend about 3.5 hours yesterday afternoon in the State Library and Archives. I mostly used abstracts for the county which are plentiful due to hard work of the Works Progress Administration employees involved in the Historical Records Survey Project for Tennessee. (I am sure many researching other states wish their state librarian at that time had been Mrs. John Trotwood Moore. I know when I work in another state's records I become even more appreciative of her foresight to have so many records abstracted for use.) I utilized not only the WPA records but other published abstracts for the county. My main focus was on court records, land records, and wills/probate records. I knew I needed to get to the tax records, but I put those off. I kept my focus on the years 1800 to 1840, even though I knew the family was probably only there a few years on the other side of the range of the children's births. I was also looking for two other allied families as I was researching the records.

What were my findings? I did not discover a single Ridings family in all the abstracts. I suspected one of the allied families (Anglin) might not be present in that county. I thought it possible that another might show up in an occasional record since they were allegedly in a nearby county in the early years of that same period. I did find records with this surname (Sheppard/Shepherd) in the county, but I am unable to link these persons with my ancestral family at the present time.

It does not currently meet the standards for a reasonably exhaustive search. I need to look at those tax records, and I may need to eventually go back through the records themselves for this period to see if names were omitted in the abstracts. Legislative petitions also need to be checked.

So did they live in Smith County? Yes. How do I know? Because he appears in the 1830 census for Smith County. [1830 U.S. Federal Census, Smith County, Tennessee, p. 112 (written), line 22, James Ridings; digital image, ( : accessed 13 Nov 2015); citing NARA microfilm publication M19, roll 181.] The maiden name of James Ridings wife is sometimes seen as Tubb or Tubbs, but most records place a question mark at the end of it. If this is her surname, I did spot references to persons with the Tubbs and Tibb or Tibbs surnames (which could be typographical errors because of the proximity of the i and u on a keyboard). Several Tubbs families are enumerated on the same page. I need to do a more exhaustive search of that name in the county as well. In my rush to create a research plan at the last minute after discovering a few hours would be available to research, I neglected to include that surname on my list. So many records, so little time!

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Pony Express

Fike, Richard E. and Headley, John W. The Pony Express Stations of Utah in Historical Perspective. Salt Lake City: Bureau of Land Management, Utah, 1979.

This government publication focuses on the Pony Express in the state of Utah. It is filled with maps and photographs to help readers understand the location of each station in the state.

Today, the Pony Express has a national museum in St. Joseph, Missouri. The website offers short biographies in its historical notes, a timeline, and a list of riders which may be of interest to genealogists.

The Pony Express National Historic Trail spans eight states--California, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming. The website contains information on the history and culture of the trail and a bibliography for those seeking additional information on the Pony Express.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day

Veterans Day is one of the holidays I remember from childhood. I was always confused because most of my family members still referred to it as Armistice Day.

An armistice was signed November 11, 1918 which put a stop to action in World War I until the Treaty of Versailles was signed the following year. The first celebration of Armistice Day was held in 1919. Congress adopted a resolution in 1926 to make it annual, but it did not become a federal holiday until 1938. Its name was changed from Armistice Day to Veterans Day in 1954. (As I pointed out earlier, many in my family still referred to it as Armistice Day more than a decade later.)

In the early 1970s, they tried to observe it the 4th Sunday of October. I lived in Mississippi which continued to observe it on November 11. Many other states followed suit and soon Congress was forced to return the holiday to the day on which the Armistice was signed.

"Pappaw," my paternal grandfather, was a World War I veteran, fighting in France, where he earned a purple heart.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Super Genes

Chopra, Deepak and Tanzi, Rudolph E. Super Genes: Unlock the Astonishing Power of Your DNA for Optimum Health and Well-Being. New York: Harmony Books, 2015.

Genetics is a rapidly evolving field of study with so many discoveries that one must be dilligent to keep up. The authors have shown that they are well-versed in recent discoveries, even reporting on the recent epigenetics discovery that one's ancestors memories may be etched in our DNA. The first section with its focus on the science behind DNA and epigenetics is by far the most interesting. The authors attempt to apply the research to lifestyle choices in the second part. Unfortunately the authors seemed to be guided by and promoting New Age philosophies in this section and in the third section which focused on evolution. I would prefer to read a book on genetics that was a bit more neutral and did not promote Eastern religions and philosophies. The appendices were more interesting than the last two parts of the book. This review is based on on Advanced Review e-galley provided by the publisher through NetGalley for review purposes.

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