Mary Layce GarnerMary was tried as a witch in Shropshire England in 1635.  She was accused of being a witch & sentenced to a trial by water.  She was placed in a chair & weighed down by rocks. If she survived she must be in league with the Devil & would be burned alive.  She drowned prompting the Church to apologize to the family & give her a Christian burial.

Jenny Sellards Wiley Jenny was my 4th great aunt. She was born circa 1760 and died of paralysis in 1831.  This courageous woman was one of many frontier women captured by Indians.  There are many stories of the capture and captivity of Jenny Wiley.  Below is one of them.

In the early fall of 1789, Jenny’s husband Thomas Wiley was away from his home on a ginseng hunting expedition.  On October 1, 1789 her household was attacked by a mixed band of marauding Cherokee, Delaware, Shawnee, and Wyandotte Indians.  Three of Jenny’s four children and her half brother were murdered instantly. Jenny was taken captive along with her youngest child. Her son (possibly named Thomas) was killed on the trail. Jenny was 7 months pregnant at the time of her capture and she delivered a premature child in a cave on the trail. The Indians allowed it to live only a short time before killing it.  It took Jenny almost one year to escape. She traveled over 162 miles to get back to her home.  

Jenny was reunited with her husband Tom and they moved to Johnson County, Kentucky and had 5 more children–4 sons and 1 daughter. Jenny often said “God gave me back the five I lost.”  The story of her capture is told in several books including, WHITE SQUAW, DARK HILLS TO WESTWARD, and THE FOUNDING OF HARMAN’S STATION AND THE WILEY CAPTIVITY. 

Jenny is buried outside the little town of River, Kentucky.  Her memorial stone reads:

Jenny Wiley 1760-1831, Historic Pioneer Mother, Captured by Indians, October 1, 1789 at Walker’s Creek, Virginia. Witnessed the slaying of her brother and five children by savages. Was held captive for several months on Little Mud Lick Creek in the present Johnson County. She escaped the Indians to Harman Station at Block House Bottom and was later united with her husband, Thomas Wiley, in Virginia. Mrs. Wiley returned to Johnson County with her husband and a cabin was built about the year 1800 where they reared five children.  Jenny Wiley died in 1831.

Depending on which source is used, the names of Jenny’s children that were killed varies. I have elected to use one of the more popular versions. We’ll probably never know the exact names of the children but one thing is not in doubt, she saw five of her children killed by Indians.  You can learn more about Jenny Wiley by visiting The Jenny Wiley Association Homepage

Thomas Fletcher – My mother’s cousin, Thomas Fletcher was deemed to be one of the poorest people in Martin Co., KY.  It was from Thomas’ porch that President Lyndon B. Johnson delivered his now very famous “War On Poverty” speech.  The pictures below were taken in 1964 for the speech, Thomas’ porch and the house as it looked in May, 2004. Click on the pictures to see a larger version of them.  Thomas died in August, 2004.


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 Mary “Polly” Alley & Frances “Fanny” (Alley) Nappier Polly & Fanny are my 5th great grandaunts. These sisters were captured (Polly) or killed (Fanny) by Indians in 1777.  Polly was captured in the spring of 1777 and Fanny and 5 of her children were killed in July or August, 1777.  

William Alley William Alley was my 13th great grandfather. He was appointed in 1560 by Queen Elizabeth I to be the Bishop of Exeter. He is buried under the Choir Loft at the cathedral. His biography can be found on the Exeter Cathedral website.

William Jefferson Ward William was born in February, 1828 and died January 4, 1904.  He was my great, great uncle and was the son of Shadrack Ward and Lavina Hylton Ward.  He was a very eccentric man. It is said that he owned the store in Ward City, now Offutt, Kentucky and tended the store in his nightshirt. He had a long white beard, fiery blue eyes and he must have presented quite a sight to his customers.  Jeff attempted to stay out of the fighting during the Civil War.  He supposedly joined the Confederate Army after the death of his young daughter, Julia.  The story goes that while Jeff was away on a buying trip for the store, it seems that a group of Union soldiers came to his house and demanded that Jeff’s wife, Sarah Hicks Ward, allow them to search the house for weapons.  Sarah and her young daughter, Julia, were forced to stand outside in the cold.  Julia caught pneumonia and died.

Eliphaz Preston Shelton Hylton & Nathan P. Hylton Eliphaz and Nathan were father and son.  Eliphaz fought for the North and had his entire company killed after attempting to capture the notorious John Hunt Morgan of Morgan’s Raiders.  The irony of the this story is that after Eliphaz came home, he discovered his son Nathan, who was only 14, had, in fact, joined Morgan’s Raiders.  After the war Eliphaz was known for preaching long sermons against the Ku Klux Klan.  He actually feared that one day the Klan would harm him so he built a room in his house to protect himself from them.  On February 17, 1896, the Klan succeeded in killing Eliphaz.

Thomas Price Thomas Price was my 5th great grandfather.  He was born in Culpepper Co., VA about 1738 and died on November 12, 1828.  While researching information for a friend, Beverly Freeland McQuown’s family tree, I found a reference to her 6th great grandfather, Uriah Humble.  Uriah was mentioned in a will as a guardian for the daughter of a Daniel Murley.  The will was drafted and witnessed by–you guessed it–Thomas Price.  These individuals lived in Augusta County, Virginia.  The research paper went on to tell how these friends would go on to fight for Colonel John Lewis at the Battle of Point Pleasant, how Uriah would eventually become Daniel’s daughter’s guardian etc.

Fact:  My grandfather lived in Augusta County, Virginia at the time of the will.

Fact:  My grandfather fought with Colonel Lewis’ men at the Battle of Point Pleasant.  He was wounded there as evidenced by his Revolutionary War Pension Papers and tombstone epitaph.

Below are the two signatures of the Thomas Prices listed above.  Are they the same person?  The will was signed about 1760.  The pension was applied for in the early 1800’s so approximately 40 years would separate the signatures which could account for the slight differences in the letter formations. 

Thomas Price’s Signature From Daniel Murley’s Will: 

Thomas Price’s Signature from his Pension Papers:     

Were Beverly’s grandfather and mine friends over two and a half  centuries ago?  We’ll probably never know for sure, but we’d like to think so. 

James Ward III, James IV, John Ward, & William Ward –  The irony of this family is that James Ward III was killed during the Battle of Point Pleasant.  His son William was a member of his company.  James III’s son John actually fought for the Shawnee Indians in that same battle. John was kidnapped by Shawnee Indians at the age of 3. He was raised by an Indian family, was given the Indian name of “White Wolf”, and fought as an Indian in their campaigns. He was killed at Reeve’s Crossing, Paint Creek, near Bainbridge in Ross County, OH during a small skirmish with a white party that included his brother James IV.

On October 10, 1774, John fought with the Shawnee Indians under Puck-e-shin-wa at the Battle of Point Pleasant, VA (now WV). Puck-e-shin-wa was the father of the soon-to-be famous Tecumseh.  Puck-e-shin-wa was killed as well as John’s father, James, who fought against the Shawnee.

Ingram Walter Davis, Sr. Ingram was one of the members of the Elite Special Forces units in World War II called the 504th Parachute Infantry Brigade.  Their unit was known as the “Devils In Baggy Pants” which referred to the clothing they used when parachuting out of planes or going behind enemy lines.  One German soldier described them in his diary and this was the origin of their “nickname.”

“American parachutists — devils in baggy pants — are less than 100 meters from my outpost line. I can’t sleep at night; they pop up from nowhere and we never know when or how they will strike next. Seems like the black-hearted devils are everywhere…”

Willie Escom Preston Escom was my uncle.  He was born on July 27, 1924 and died on April 10, 1987.  He had the honor of serving on the USS Hornet as a radio operator during World War II. He had the distinction of being one of the first people in the world to know that Franklin D. Roosevelt had died. He took the message for FDR’s son, Elliott, who was also stationed on the Hornet, that his father was dead before it was released to the general public.

Bateman Preston Bateman was my 2nd great granduncle.  Per a newspaper story about his death:  Bateman Preston died January 9th, 1882 of lockjaw, caused by a gunshot explosion. A child was poking a fire with a loaded gun when Mr. Preston attempted to pull the gun away and it went off.

Brook Lin VanHoose- was a photographer during the Spanish American War.  After the war he migrated to Jasper Co., MO.  He became very wealthy and was kidnapped and held for ransom.  He was killed trying to escape his captors.  When his body was found, he was still wearing his 5 carat diamond ring.