I started my family research online in July 1998, but other family members have been compiling data for a number of years - through letters, photos, diaries, notes, etc. Without their hard work and efforts to preserve this information, I wouldn't have gotten as far as I have. This will be an ongoing effort in researching my ancestors and those of my husband.

My husband's surnames are BALLARD, BINKLEY, BLOOD, CONKEY, CRAUN, CURTICE, FERRIS, DENSMORE, WOODARD and will eventually include (hopefully) such names as KESSLER, SOUTHMAYD and STONER.


I have found a few cousins along the way, much to my delight. Hopefully, you will find information here that will help you and, you might fill in a few gaps for me!

Be sure to click on the surnames listed below for further information; and please stop by often to see added information as I find it. Please be sure to sign my Guest Book!


My biggest stumbling block has been finding information regarding my (maternal) Great Grandfather, William (Henry) WRIGHT, who married Mary/Matilda Amzella (THOMPSON) WRIGHT. They moved a great deal, never owned property; Henry was a farm laborer, handyman, house painter in Oklahoma and Texas. Matilda was part Choctaw/Cherokee, a closely guarded family secret, although I was able to find her THOMPSON family and some surviving THOMPSON cousins! Her mother was Martha Matilda Rebecca COX, daughter of Green L. COX.

It isn't known what my Great Grandmother WRIGHT's given name was since Henry referred to her as "Matilda" (on my grandfather's death certificate) or simply used the initials "M.A." on few legal documents (such as her death certificate); she appears as both "Mary" and "May" on census records. When her daughter, Dessa, applied for a Social Security card, she listed her mother's name as "May Amzella". Based on the naming patterns of the previous century, I've taken the liberty of listing her name as Matilda, after her mother. Her middle name came from her aunt, Amzella COX. THOMPSON family members called her by the nickname of "Diance".

I am still trying to determine where in Tennessee Henry was born, and have not been able to find the names of his parents and siblings. None of my Wright cousins know anything about him.

A great deal of credit for my Thompson data goes to my various Thompson cousins.


Another mystery is the burial place of my (maternal) Great Great Grandfather James Robert BROOKHART, who is buried in an unmarked grave somewhere in Missouri. He was a Civil War Veteran (Union). He was a resident of Oto, Stone County, Missouri before he died. I recently (September 2000) visited what is left of Oto - a church - and wandered around in the grassy area behind it, looking for remnants of a graveyard but didn't find a thing. It is beautiful hilly country, fit only for grazing cattle or horses. I am still searching for records of an old soldier's home in that area, since no records of his death exist in the Missouri state archives.

I gained recent BROOKHART family history from a distant cousin in Arkansas; but the most credit for my source of BROOKHART ancestry data goes to a very distant cousin, Jeff Wells, a descendant of Julius BROOKHART. Julius was the brother of my great-great-great-great-great grandfather John Michael BROOKHART, born about 1735 in Bavaria. Julius and John were the sons of Christian and Johanne BROOKHART, who migrated from Rotterdam to Philadelphia about 1752.

My great great grandmother, Catherine OWENS BROOKHART, born March 20, 1837, was the daughter of Henry OWENS, born about 1797 and Katrina/Catherine HUBLER OWENS, born about 1803. Henry and Katrina had eight children, Samuel, Catherine, Marvin, Enoch, Henry, Cooper, Julia and Sarah. The family lived in Beaver County, Pennsylvania until about 1846; they moved to Columbiana County, Ohio, where they appear on a census for 1860. After the War, the children had moved on to various locations, Cooper was killed in battle, and I haven't been able to find further information as to where Henry and Katrina originated or where they finally wound up.


I recently found other decendants of John Thomas SPEER and Emily Roe MORRIS. I am hoping that this website will enable me to find information regarding my early SPEER and MORRIS ancestors.

My Great Uncle Robert Carter SPEER wrote a brief memoir that I would like to share here. He learned to type shortly before losing his eyesight in 1928. Knowing his fondness for writing poetry, stories, etc., his daughter, Anita, wisely saw the need for him to learn. He spent many hours at his typewriter after losing his sight. Any errors in punctuation, or in continuance of thought is understandable. I have not been able to locate any of his other 'writings', if they still exist.

My grandfather Robert Speer was born in North Carolina. His parents were from Ireland, working their passage on an old sailing and passenger of a British colonization company. Grandfather and wife began life as a settler in middle Tennessee, beneath a big oak tree, bedded down beside a great log until a loghouse was built. This spot is near the atom bomb works of Oak-Ridge. I own the cast iron teakettle which served on the early campfires.

Seven babes were born ere my father came along on March 2nd. I say Sis Maud has a pen and ink proof of March 8th in 1840 as being Dad's birth? In Waynesboro, Wayne County, Tennessee. Dad was a self-furnished volunteer Cavalry of Middle Tennessee. I have a single shot pistol that he as a boy of 18 began with. It was made in 1839, would kick both ways. Dad was an angular six foot "left-handed swordsman". He served a full four years in the Rebel army of 1861 to 1865. Nor did he ever talk much about the disgrace of it all.

Dad was 30, Mother 28 when wed, near New Concord, Ky. in 1869 or 1870. I came along on October 20, 1871. On the rented Sam Stone farm, some four miles from Murray, Kentucky, Calloway County. Twas said 3 years of no rain caused death from lack of food and water, but a 11 foot deep well of Uncle Hardeman Stone never failed. A bucket and rope, pulled by hand, the best water. I pulled up a harmless snake, slapped it off, drank my fill, then returned to "worming tobacco".

Uncle John Speer lived at Saltillo, Tenn. Dad was named after him, with Thomas as Dad's middle name. Uncle Bill Speer was an accident or suicide. Many years ago 'twas said, in Long Beach, California, a fortune teller said to Sis Demas Speer Collins, "Be still, I hear a man's voice saying, 'It was an accident'. Did you have an Uncle Bill?" I never heard of one. That evening, Sis blustered into our farm home saying, "Bob, did we have an Uncle Bill?" "Yes, 'tis said that his big toe either slipped as he cleaned a shotgun or that he committed suicide." Truth.

I knew Dad's sisters, all older than he.....Aunt Mariah Speer Stone, Aunt Peggy Speer, second wife of Tom C. Ellis. By her sister, his first wife, a somewhat defective boy was born. I hunted with Jim Ellis. Jim died a Methodist in faith and had earned and saved $400. He had a cousin to write me that he wished to live with me, and hand over cash to us. Wife being sickly and Jim so religious, talkative, nor easy to understand, and he knew everyone "back thar", I could not.

And one of Dad's sisters owned much of Clifton, Tenn., we were said to be heirs. Caroline Speer Davis and grown son in a photo of long ago, we never bothered. I forget, the Clifton sister of Dad's was Olive Speer Hughes? And 'twas said, a favorite nephew, Dr. Jack Speer got the property, so gossip stated to me.

Aunt Lottie, Dad's sister, lived near as until I was 12. No sweeter aunty ever was. Charlotte M. Speer Stone, wife of William J. Stone, two sons, Dr. Joe T. and William S. Stone was a 250 pounder, had 2 wives. The first was Laura Patterson, a sister of Tom Patterson, husband of Betty Robinson Patterson. She died in New Concord, Ky., and a beloved cousin. I never saw her after we were 12 or 13. I was younger. Betty had a brother, Hardeman Robinson, my playmate. He became a R.R. depot agent at Fulton, Ky. Across the street, two drunks bet $240 that one did not possess the courage to shoot the first man to come within view. Hardeman fell dead as he stepped out of the depot, a rank stranger.

Dr. "Billy" Stone was 6 feet 7 inches, and so very slight of build. His wife was Nannie Risenhoover, a M.E. minister's daughter.

Dr. Joe T. sired 17 children, one R. B. Stone died in Lexington, Ky., a phone executive. Then, deeply religious, showing the citizenry of my beloved south in the almost inaccessible deep hills, where few, if any carts rolled, R. B. had a pack horse. His picture pharfanelia was bound on the horse. Frightened, it leaped sideways into space.

Now, mother's side of the fence. Emily Roe Morris was born in 1842, near Clarksville, Tenn. and was 93+ (when she died). Dad and Mother are buried at Covina, California. Carter Morris (Emily's father) died at 82, on his plantation, upland and Blood River bottom timber cleared by slaves, I've seen them, after freedom, I walked several miles. Saw and can hear the clods drop into grandpa's grave at New Concord, Ky., I was near 7. Mother was one of 8 children. Eli McClure bought the farm, during the seventies.

To a nicest itty bitty niece, for her kind thoughtfulness in writing so sympathetically to an aged Unk, Ni Nite to all.

Daddy Bob


These surnames are intertwined - Lillian CURTICE, daughter of Charles CURTICE and Mary FERRIS, who married Frederick BLOOD. Their daughter, Ruth BLOOD, married Walter L. CONKEY, son of Walter L. CONKEY and Nellie BALLARD.

James CONKEY, son of James MC CONKEY, was born in Ireland in 1711 but had dropped the "Mc" from his name by the time he arrived in America.

After Lillian BLOOD's husband, Frederick Henry BLOOD, died in Wisconsin in 1905, she moved to Otis Orchards (Spokane County), Washington in 1908. Two sons, George Frederick BLOOD and Charles Stewart BLOOD, and a daughter, Ruth BLOOD made the move with her. Accompanying them was Ruth's fiance, Walter L. CONKEY. The BLOOD/CONKEY apple orchard endeavor apparently did not live up to their expectations; in addition, Ruth and Walter suffered the loss of their daughter, Jane Elizabeth and an infant son, Carl Curtice and they moved to Los Angeles County, California around 1922/1923. George Frederick had moved to Yakima, Washington by 1920. George and his brother Charles moved their families to San Diego after 1925, where they later died and are buried.

A slight twist to this part of the story is that my husband and I did not know the migration history of his family when we moved to Washington from California in 1979! And, I only discovered information about Jane and Carl while researching the family in November 2000.

We were able to visit Walter and Ruth's place of birth in Appleton, Wisconsin, and Riverside Cemetery where many of their ancestors are buried, during the summer of 1999. It was a very interesting trip.


With the assistance and legwork of a WOODARD cousin in Michigan and a new-found (March 2001) DENSMORE cousin, information regarding my husband's maternal grandparents, Robert Bruce WOODARD, (son of Robert Bruce WOODARD and Lucinda BINKLEY) and Grace Laura DENSMORE WOODARD, (daughter of Paul Smith DENSMORE and Maud Alice STONER) has been updated.

Thanks to this (California) DENSMORE cousin, I will be posting two letters written by John Paul DENSMORE to his wife, MIALMA TABOR DENSMORE when he went to search for gold in California in 1858 (click on link below titled, "Letters").

Unfortunately, it is unknown if he struck it rich as he wasn't able to return home to his family in Michigan; he died of cholera in Stockton, California - it is not known where he was buried. Be sure to check back here for those letters!

In October/November 2001, I found some more DENSMORE cousins (in California), a CRAUN/MARTIN cousin in Michigan and a distant CRAUN cousin in Arizona! Thanks to their tremendous help, I am filling out the DENSMORE, CRAUN trees and will soon have some STONER data to add here. My thanks to all of you!


Also, big thank you to a Gordon cousin who filled in a few gaps regarding siblings of Charles Augustus GORDON and provided the names of his children with Sarah Maria CALLAHAN.


I would like to include an essay written about my JAMES ancestors (my Grandmother was Martha Ruby JAMES GORDON). The author is a distant cousin, Thurston JAMES (14 June 1933 - 26 August 2005). He and two other cousins, Lucas JAMES and Michael NELSON have been extremely helpful to me in my research of the JAMES family.

JOHN JAMES - Kentucky Pioneer
by Thurston James

John James was born in 1750. A long standing tradition shows John to be the son of Lucy THOMPSON and Christopher JAMES; it says he was named after his grandfather, John JAMES, who immigrated from England to the new world in 1713.

John James - The Immigrant

In 1712, John JAMES was 24 years old. He met a 19 year old woman, Justina THURSTON, and they were married. Almost immediately after the marriage, John and his bride made plans to move to the Colonies in the new world. The young couple were sailing directly to a township, then known as "Martin's Hundred", now known as "Carter's Grove", in the Colony of Virginia. Justina was coming to claim her inheritance, a home that had been established by her parents, in the late 1600's. The property was comfortably situated along the James River and was known as the "Loveing Estate".

John and Justina had three sons, Christopher, Thomas and Thurston. It is the eldest, Christopher, who we claim as our ancestor.

Christopher James

Christopher JAMES was born in 1720 and died in 1779. Very little is known about him. Courthouse records of the period that might have provided clues to his life and precise lineage were destroyed during the Civil War, when Richmond was burned. Christopher married Lucy THOMPSON, and they had nine children, three girls and six boys. Their first child was a boy named John, born in 1750.

John James - 1750

John JAMES married twice. His first wife was Elizabeth Frances MORRIS; they were married in 1774. Elizabeth died at the birth of their first child or very soon after. The daughter was named Elizabeth Morris JAMES.

John took as his second wife, Lucy MOSBY, in about 1780. Lucy MOSBY is the one we personally have an interest in, counting her as our Gr-gr-gr-gr-grandmother.

Kentucky Pioneers

John and Lucy left James County, Virginia soon after their marriage and had several different homes in Virginia. We are able to trace their journey as the traveled further and further into the western wilderness by following the documented record of their children's births.

John and Lucy had ten children. The first, was a son, William, born in 1780 in Hanover County, Virginia. This is about 70 miles northwest of where John was born in James County. Then, they moved another 80 miles west and were living in Buckingham County, Virginia, in 1783. Their third child, John James, Jr., was born there.

They evidently returned to Hanover County by 1786, when Foster was born. My (this author) Gr-gr-gr-grandfather, Mosby, was also born in Hanover in 1787.

As John and Lucy continued to travel west, their family continued to grow. In 1794, they had eight children and they had moved 110 miles southwest to Campbell County, Virginia. A daughter, Susannah, was born there.

The adventurous couple finally settled in an area we now call Ohio County, Kentucky, in 1799, only three years after it had become a state. No towns or settlements are shown on the "Kentucke" map of 1795, for none had yet been settled. The large area was known as Nelson County, Kentucky - Ohio and Butler counties did not yet exist.

The tenth and last child, Mariah James, was born in 1802. John was 49 years old.

John and Lucy JAMES were "pioneers" in the true sense of the word. John could easily have been acquainted with Daniel Boone; they lived in the same general area, and at the same time. There was only 16 years difference in their ages.

John James lived in Kentucky for twenty years. He died in 1819. His grave marker can be found in the cemetery at Beaver Dam Baptist Church, Beaver Dam, Kentucky.

It reads:

Dec. 26th 1819
Aged 69 years
"Long affliction have I born
Physicians were in vain
But Christ was pleased
To call me home
And rid me of my pain"

MY Gr-gr-gr-grandfather was their sixth child, Samuel JAMES, born April 8, 1790.

Thank you for visiting my page at Angelfire.

THANK YOU to all of my cousins - you know who you are!! Your help has been extremely valuable and I treasure all of you!

Please click on the names listed below for further information regarding our surnames. If you have any questions or comments, please email me with the surname that you are researching. Come back and visit often!

Katie seems to be looking for some attention!


Letters from the gold fields of California
Additional Gordon Links