Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Fauquier Lunceford/Lunsford Genetic Genealogy Project

Steady progress is being made in our quest to use genetic genealogy as a means of confirming paper records back to our earliest known ancestor and brick wall, one Baldwin Lunsford (abt 1764). Since little is known about Baldwin's ancestry (hence the brick wall moniker), it is hoped that by determining his Y-chromosome haplogroup together with a diagnostic SNP for our clan we may someday be able to connect with other Lun(ce)sford clans in the US and abroad.

Just this week we received new STR profiles for two matching fourth cousins. To date our collective results suggest strongly that there has been unbroken paternal surname inheritance in our lineage back to Baldwin's son Benjamin Lunceford (abt 1793).

If you are a Lun(ce)sford male with previous Y-chromosome test results, or are interested in family genealogy and would like to learn more about genetic genealogy, please send an email to the project administrator at: . Minimum requirements for STR testing are the Family Tree DNA Y37 test or the alpha and beta panels from YSEQ labs. Or, if you've had any full sequencing of the Y-chromosome or more detailed SNP panels conducted we would be especially interested in talking with you.

Currently our clan is placed in the I1 haplogroup with a public terminal SNP S2077.


UPDATE: Little Old Cabin in Halfway

Earlier this year my Aunt Jane volunteered to go to the Fauquier Court House and see what she could find out about That Little Old Cabin in Halfway. She came away with this deed (from Deed Book-63, Pg 140), which reads:

Lunceford EC [extants]
{} Deed
Griffith Abner

This deed made on 22nd day Dec 1870 between Elija C Lunceford & Harret E Lunceford his wife, of the first part, and Abner Griffith of the second part all of the county of Fauquier State of Virginia. Witnesseth that the said parties of the first part for and in consideration of the sum of three hundred dollars, to these in hand paid by the said party of the second part the rec’t of which is hereby acknowledged do sell & convey unto the said Griffith of the second part all their title + interest in the real estate of their father John Griffith dec. said estate lying & being in the county of Fauquier near Longbranch Meeting house + the same on which said Jno Griffith lived & died – the said gran – tors do convey unto the said grantee all interest they now have or ever may have in the said estate & do generally warrant & defend the same against the claims of any and all others.
Witness the following signatures & seals
                                                                                    E. C. Lunceford {SEAL}
                                                                                    Harret E. Lunceford {SEAL}
                                                                                    Abner Griffith {SEAL}
Fauquier Cty to wit {
                        Personally appeared before me Edward C. Turner a Justice of said county Elija C Lunceford whose name is signed to the annexed deed and acknowledged the same in my county


Wow, what a find! Unfortunately, there was no plat or survey associated with this deed. Aside from the "...near Longbranch Meeting house....." reference, it could be for property almost anywhere in the Halfway area. However, it did confirm that Elijah and Harriett were at one time in possession of their part of John Griffith's property (part of her inheritance) and that their interest in the estate later was conveyed to Abner Griffith in 1870 for the sum of $300.

While at the court house, Aunt Jane was fortunate enough to run into the county preservation planner, Ms Wendy Wheatcraft. I followed up with Wendy for a later meeting where she was kind enough to take me to the deed room and walk me through a title search of the land the cabin sits on. We began with the current owners and searched back in time through fifteen separate transactions, finally arriving at 1894 and a dead end involving a Howdershell Chancery suit. From various sources the Howdershell family were known as large land owners and speculators with some of their grants originating from Lord Fairfax. What I really found amazing was that none of the deeds cited a plat or survey, only making reference to the "100 acres, give-or-take" of the Pickett survey. And there were no references to any Lun(ce)sford owners or tenants. However, there was a W. H. Smith transaction in 1902 (DB 93, Pg 390) which might provide a connection to the George H. Smith cemetery (see more below).

Wendy also put me in touch with the current property owner, the Braswell's of "Ballantrae". They were most gracious and invited me over for a ride around their property. Much of the land is bounded by dry lay stone walls especially that portion on the Long Branch side in the vicinity of the cabin. After taking another quick look inside the cabin, Harry Braswell showed me another feature in the attic that I had missed on our earlier visit; numbered notching in the ridge poles of the roof. We're not sure what these were for. Perhaps the poles were matched on the ground and this numbering system helped the carpenter line things up once they were hoisted up for placement. 

This visit helped answer two other questions: 1) Why was the cabin not listed on the Long Branch Lane section of the Little River Rural Historic District (LRRHD) application? And 2), why was the Smith cemetery listed separately on the Long Branch Lane inventory? Since the cabin is technically within the Ballantrae estate, it was listed as a secondary dwelling for its Rock Hill Mill Road address (LRRHD inventory #030-5579-0203). And according to Wendy, cemeteries in Virginia are recognized as separate land features not connected directly to real estate. So even though the Smith Cemetery is within the property line of Ballantrae, it is considered its own parcel. The LRRHD surveyors simply included it as part of the Long Branch Lane inventory (030-5579-0157).

So for now we can make no direct connection between our family and this little old cabin in Halfway. Unfortunate, yes, but this certainly has been one hell of a research story; from Bev Aiken's family oral tradition and visit in 1962, to our rediscovery in 2014, to disappointment in the Fauquier County Deed Room. But Halfway and the surrounding area most certainly is ground zero for our early family's land holdings. Additional parcels around Long Branch Meeting house include the Griffith House, Hugh Griffith's Shop, and cousin Tim Lunceford has been investigating family properties in the Hopewell area just south-east of Halfway. Only genealogical sweat equity spent shifting through wills, deeds, census records and other materials will bring some finality to our quest.

R. Dwayne Lunsford, PhD


Saturday, March 9, 2019

Guest Post: Which John?

      While this winter’s frigid hand continues to squeeze every ounce of tolerance from all of us here in Missouri, I have been correcting and updating my long-neglected family tree files. My files were backed up onto disk several years ago when working full time didn’t accommodate genealogy research. Now, I’m semi-retired and only really work in the summer months interpreting 19th Century Tinsmithing at a local living-history museum. I’ve chosen to use Legacy’s program to great satisfaction and, since I used my usual, “free-suits-me” approach to my selection, I’m very satisfied with this product.

One issue I’ve had for quite some time, as most others struggle with in the endeavor to restore family history, is the use of the same name(s) across several branches of family and through multiple generations that quite frequently overlap birth years, as well as spousal surnames. It challenges us to the point of feeling as if our head could explode. And, just as exasperating, is the practice of only using middle initials in documents and on headstones. We do the same thing today and I guarantee some poor genealogist generations into our future will have the same issue with us.

The challenge I had spent several years avoiding was the struggle to sort out John H. from John H. from John H. and John M. and John W., and figure out their inter-connection to each John H. and John M. and James W. Then another James W. and a James D. popped up, so there’s also the question whether some of them might be Senior’s or Junior’s, Third’s or Fourth’s. And, I know your head is already spinning, just like mine always did. Then, throw into the mix that several of these John’s and James’ fought in the Civil War at the same time. So, which was in which unit? Which lived, which died? So, I’m going to sort out some of this mess for the sake of sanity.

Baldwin’s sons, Benjamin and Harrison are where we begin. The family of each will be designated “A” for Benjamin, and “B” for Harrison, then numbered/lettered by each successive generation. Remember that Benjamin (1796) was by Baldwin's first wife, Anna Ball. While Harrison C. (1803) was by his second wife, Judith Creel. I’ll show each of their families one at a time only using those son’s who used names beginning with “J,” and remember everyone’s surname is Lunceford/Lunsford.

Family Designation “A”

AB-1) Baldwin

A-1)  Benjamin  (1796 – 1869)

            A-2-a)  James William, Sr.  (After 1818 – 1863)

                        A-3-a-1)  John Henry  (1846 – 1934)
                                    A-4-a-1)  Thomas James  (1866 – 1950)

                        A-3-a-2)  James William, Jr.  (1848 – 1935)
            A-2-b)  John M.  (1823 – 1900)

                        A-3-b-1)  John Samuel  (1865 – 1926)
                        A-3-b-2)  James Benjamin  (1869 – unknown)

             A-2-c)  Arthur Baldwin  (1825 – 1891)

                        A-3-c-1  Joseph R.  (1856 – unknown)

            A-2-d)  Elijah Chilton  (1829 – 1921)

                        A-3-d-1)  James R.  (1862/3 – 1865)
                        A-3-d-2)  Samuel Shelton  (1861 – 1939)

                                    A-4-d-2-1)  James Shelby, Sr.  (1903 – 1964)
                                    A-5-d-2-1-1)  James Shelby, Jr.  (Living)

                        A-3-d-3)  John Henry  (1865 – 1933)

            A-2-e)  Benjamin Richard  (1837/1840 – 1900)

                        A-3-e-1)  John Richard  (1872 – 1945)
                                    A-4-e-1-1)  John Ellwood  (1914 – 1942)

                        A-3-e-2)  Benjamin Harrison  (1881 – 1931)
                                    A-4-e-2-1)  James Marshall  (1921 – 1943)

                        A-3-e-3)  James M.  (1883 – 1945)

Some notable facts:

            A-2-b) John M. was appointed as executor to A-1) Benjamin’s will, resulting in a Chancery suit (061-1873) to equally divide the land between the eligible 11 inheritors.

            A-2-a) James W. was deceased before A-1) Benjamin’s will was executed in 1869, likely a casualty of the War. The Chancery suit (061-1873), lists his 5 younger children as orphans, less than 21 years, resulting in a counter-suit within the Chancery suit (061-1873) by his wife Harriet (Bruin) to collect debts owed by A/B-1) Benjamin.

            A-3-a-1) John Henry was a Scout for Col. John S. Mosby, erroneously described in the book, Mosby’s Rangers, by James J. Williamson,1896, as a deserter. He was also found to be a foreman for Lawrence Washington’s estate called “Waveland.” He was captured at Big Cobbler Mt on 12 Oct 1864, sent to Ft. Warren, Boston Harbor, and POW until the War’s end. He is found of age in Chancery suit (061-1873). He signed an oath of allegiance at Ft Warren, Mass. on 15 Jun 1865.

            A-3-a-2) James William, Jr. served in Co. E, Mosby’s Rangers alongside A-2-d) Elijah Chilton. James W., Jr. is not listed in J.J. Williamson’s book.

Confederate Prisoners (from Wikimedia )

 Family Designation “B”
AB-1)  Baldwin

 B-1)  Harrison C.  (1803 – 1894)

                        B-2-a)  James D.  (Unknown – 1864)
                        B-2-b)  John Harrison  (1845 – 1847
                        B-2-c)  Joshua Thomas  (1829 – 1924)

Some notable facts:

            B-1) Harrison is listed in, Maps and Notes Pertaining to the Upper Section of Fauquier County, Virginia, by Curtis Chappelear, Esq., 1954, as pertains to Upperville is as follows: “Lots on the North Side of Columbia Street No 23 – Site of Joseph Carr’s Store House, and later the home of Harrison Lunsford, shoemaker.” Columbia Street is now Highway 50.

              B-2-a) James D. is listed in, Nothing But Glory, Pickett’s Division At Gettysburg, by Kathy Georg, 1993. Harrison and John W. Busey. He served as a Private in Co. F “Blue Mountain Boys,” 8th VA Infantry. He supposedly killed more men than any other during the assault at Gettysburg. He was captured and sent to Ft. Delaware Prison located on Peapatch Island in the Delaware River. Conditions were very dirty, damp and cold. Disease ran rampant and James D. died of an inflammation of the lungs on 11 or 12 Mar 1864. He was buried in a trench/mass grave at Finn’s Point National Cemetery, Confederate section, located at Pennsville, NJ.
Fort Delaware (from Wikimedia )
Well, there you go. That isn’t too hard to understand, is it? In fact, you might wonder where all the confusion came from to start with. If you consider sitting with a list of names without dates, as I placed them in the beginning paragraph, you know. The dates sort them all out, obviously. I encourage everyone reading this to make certain you record the little, seemingly unimportant differences about you. Record your voice, take plenty of photos, and leave trinkets to people around you. Eventually, someone like yourself may be able to “bring you back to life.” Or, at the very least, be able to understand what makes you memorable. One of the best things I did was to record the voices of two older Lunceford’s sharing some memories, both of whom passed shortly afterward.

Tim Lunceford
Independence, MO

Saturday, March 2, 2019

The Cyclone of 1929

Click for larger image
As a young child I spent many a weekend at my maternal grandparent's house in Nokesville, VA. The Ridgley's (Violet and Ira; aka Paw-paw and Maw-maw) lived in the house on the corner of VA-28 (Nokesville Rd.) and Fitzwater Dr., just across from a little section of old Rt. 28 aka Minute Ln. It still stands, but sadly is not maintained as it was back in their day.

We would spend hours on that front porch watching traffic and just plain old rocking and talking. If only I could go back in time for a weekend and do that over again. Life was so simple. No cell phones or WiFi, just the long-and-shorts of a party phone line and three channels of B&W TV. You were treated to the sounds of hymns playing from the Brethren Church steeple speakers, passing trains and the firehouse siren. And what little traffic there was back then almost everyone honked and waived and easily identified either as a local or someone just passing through. There was no strip center or 7-11 back then, just Baker's and Whetzel's stores. Otherwise you had to go to Manassas.

These folks survived the Great Depression and lived through the deprivations of the home front during WWII. Their experiences always seemed to make it into the discussions at some point. But the one story that always got my attention as a child was The Great Cyclone of 1929, especially since The Wizard of Oz was a yearly event on TV. Tornadoes were one of those things we saw going on out in the mid-west on the evening news, not in Virginia and surely not in our little town.

From the article by Eugene Scheel
Several years ago my sister found an article on this particular swarm of twisters by the great northern Virginia historical map maker Eugene Scheel. Found on this link, it is a fascinating account because it gives the exact starting point for this swarm as beginning at the foot of the Shenandoah near the present town of Woodville way over in Rappahannock County. I always thought these things began further south in the flat plains of Orange and Culpepper Counties. Was I ever wrong.

From Scheel:

"Four of the six tornados, spawned by one storm system, hit this area within five hours. Of the many people who recall the disasters, most said they remembered that the cyclones touched ground after hours of driving rains and ever-increasing winds. Each tornado cut a runway of devastation about two miles long and 600 to 900 feet wide. 'It just went up and down, hopping from place to place,' Arabelle Laws Arrington told me recently, as she described the tornado that killed her father and demolished her family's house and dairy farm in Weaversville in lower Fauquier County. It 'cut through the woods like they had put in a power line'............."

"........Woodville, the third-largest town in Rappahannock County, was hit first. The hands of a wall clock found in the debris of the community's four-room frame school were stopped at 3:10 p.m. Marshall Hawkins, 14, who had stayed in the building to talk to his teachers, was killed by the collapsing building. Fifteen houses, two or three stores and three churches were destroyed, but not Shiloh Baptist, the town's black church. By telephone and telegraph, news of the Woodville twister soon reached Catlett, a large village on the Southern Railway, 30 miles east of Woodville and 11/2 miles north of Weaversville. There were no area radio stations in 1929. 'It had rained all the day long, and when the weather was bad, my father came and got us' at the Catlett school, Arrington recalled. 'We usually walked the 11/2 miles to school. There was no school bus'."

Maw-maw was an Allen, and their family originated from the Mt. Jackson area of the Shenandoah Valley. Her father, Luther Allen ran a store in Weaversville, a small town in Fauquier, the next county over from Nokesville in Prince William. We always heard how her dad's store was destroyed in the storm. But I didn't know the details or that her brother Elwood helped out with the rescue effort.

More from Scheel:

"...........Colvin, [Benjamin Franklin Colvin] telling of the tornado in a May 8, 1929, letter to the Fauquier Democrat, cited Catlett men Wilson, Donald Gray, Fisher Crittenden, Hoyt Orndorff, Leslie Colvin and James Day as the main rescue crew, along with Elwood Allen and Thomas Whiting Cowne, Blanche Laws's father, who lived in Weaversville. The tornado, possibly the same one that had hit Woodville, destroyed four of Weaversville's seven houses, and Luther Allen's store, across Elk Run Road from the Laws's farm. 'I invested a lot of money in that store,' Arrington recalled, 'Every time I got a few pennies, I'd go over there and buy candy.' Surveying the damage the next day, Colvin noted the destruction of the homes of Allen and his brother Charles Allen. Arrington remembered another destroyed home, whose occupant, Thomas Jackson, was found unconscious in a nearby field the next day. The homes of Lamar Colvin, Belle Coates and Thomas Whiting Cowne were badly damaged, but were rebuilt and stand today.........."

Although the Allens were living near Catlett at the time, I'm not sure where Maw-maw was during this maelstrom. I seem to remember her saying she was working "down the road", perhaps Manassas or beyond.

For a description of the Nokesville devastation we can turn to Robert Beahm's book, Nokesville, The Way It Was (2001). The 1929 twister leads off his "Stories and Sidelights" chapter on page-77:

"Before the tornado descended on the Nokesville area it had, unknown to the local populace, killed four people and demolished completely several houses and barns in Weaversville, a settlement about two miles east of Catlett, VA. The first property in its path as it approached the Nokesville area was the home of Oceola Marsteller where it caused relatively light damage. Next was the Edmund Hooker farm house with its numerous outbuildings and tenant house. Most were severely damaged or destroyed. At the storm's outset, Olive Hooker dashed upstairs where her son, one year old Ernest was sleeping, and removed him from his cradle which was partially filled with brick and other debris. The child was unharmed but the house damage was extensive. No one else was injured. Edmund Hooker, husband and father, was in Manassas on business at the time."

From Beahm's book; click for larger image

Compared to Woodville and Weaversville, Nokesville looks to have been lucky with no loss of life. Barns and houses were damaged but soon repaired by the locals most of whom were farmers or tradesmen. With no 911 or FEMA to the rescue, only the rugged men and women of that era were available to clean up the mess and move on.

R. Dwayne Lunsford, PhD

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Guest Post: The "Little Dixie" Lunceford's

It was about 1884 when Oliver Hawes and his wife, Alcinda (Lunceford) Hawes, struck out from Loudoun County, Virginia with their five children to settle in Jackson County, Missouri. It is likely that many Loudoun and Fauquier County families were still struggling to recover twenty years after the Civil War. Oliver Hawes’ family history is not well researched due to the lack of records for the family. It may be they connect to the Pennsylvania Hawes family that came from England. Baldwin Lunceford’s daughter Martha ‘Patsy’ married Thomas Hawse in 1835, but the Hawes/Haws/Hawse name more clearly entered into the Lunceford family with the marriages of three of Benjamin’s daughters; Marion to Ephraim Hawes, Elizabeth to Harrison Hawse, and Alcinda to Oliver Hawes.

The reason this part of the family migrated to Missouri can only be assumed, as there are no family stories to provide any absolute information. However, there were many families from Loudoun and Fauquier County who had migrated to Missouri previous to, and following the Civil War; the Withers family of Warrenton, the Fishback and Luttrell families, and the Noland and Smallwood families of Loudoun County. The Noland and Smallwood families are much intermarried in both State’s, and the areas around Hillsboro and Purcelville has been home to a great many of them. It is likely these families would send reports of life in Missouri to their families remaining in Virginia, and these reports were shared with others in the nearby communities. After all, in the time before electronic entertainment, there were not many better stories than those coming from the edge of the Wild West. It could be that Oliver heard enough reports and stories of success that he decided to take the risk and remove to Missouri.

In about 1882, Oliver and Alcinda’s daughter married the eldest son of Elijah Chilton Lunceford; Alcinda was Chilton’s younger sister. William ‘Willie’ Rhodes Lunceford married Elouise ‘Ella’ Hawes, they were first cousins. The marriage between first cousins was a common practice in that era when the possible results of such close familial relationships was not understood. I have not found an actual record of their marriage, but it likely took place in Loudoun County.

In about 1886, Willie and Ella Lunceford left Loudoun County, Virginia for Jackson County, Missouri to settle near Ella’s parents, Oliver and Alcinda. Traveling along with them was Willie’s younger brother, Samuel Shelton ‘Shelt’ Lunceford. The area where they settled is within Fort Osage Township which is in the north-eastern corner of Jackson County. A small village in the area, which was called Mecklin, served as the initial hometown of the families. They also occupied land near Lake City, which is now government-owned and contains an ammunition manufacturing facility. This area is best known for the operation of Jesse and Frank James and their gang. It is believed the families in this area provided much support for them during the Civil War when they rode with William Quantrill, and afterward when they were bandits in the area.

Samuel Shelton ‘Shelt’ Lunceford married Frances Hannah Brammer, the daughter of a Virginia Confederate veteran, James Naaman Brammer. He and his brother, Greene C. Brammer, came to Jackson County, Missouri following the war. These two Brammer’s are buried in the Confederate Cemetery in Higginsville, Missouri. Frances and Shelt had 12 children, one daughter, Mary died very young. Many of their children were born in a house that still stands across from the land my parents purchased near Levasy, Missouri. It happens that this property is very near the Walnut Grove Stock Farm mentioned later in this document. Later, Shelt moved his family to Lake City, Missouri. He was a farmer early on, but was listed in the census as a plumber.

John Henry Lunceford, a younger brother of Willie and Shelt, married Madie Ann Smith, daughter of George Smith of Halfway, Virginia. They lived near Orlean and Hume, Virginia. They lost two children, Ernest and Ethel, early in their marriage. John and Madie left for Missouri sometime in the early 1890’s, we believe. Family lore claims John killed an officer of the law in Virginia and fled to Missouri to avoid prosecution. He eventually had to return to Virginia to stand trial and be cleared of the charge of murder in order to qualify for a government job in Missouri. He apparently got off with a declaration of self-defense, but none of this story has ever been verified. He did, however serve as a “road-overseer,” or foreman, in the Fairmount district of Independence, by appointment of Judge Harry S. Truman. An additional incident of family lore claims that John became so enraged over the harassment on himself by another gentleman that he threatened if the fellow didn’t stop what he was doing, they “would find his dead carcass stretched over his own woodpile, sometime.” As gruesome as this threat is, story has it that someone did, in fact, find the fellow’s violently beaten, dead body laid on top of the woodpile near his own house. This story has also never been verified. Any credibility can only be added by more family lore that suggests the Civil War veteran, and older uncle by the same name, John Henry, would take the younger John to the taverns in Fauquier and start a fight. Then, he would step out, leaving the younger John to defend himself alone and, should the younger John be tossed out of the melee, the older John would throw him back in until all the fight had gone out of one party or other. Again, unverified lore, but it lends a possible motive to the previous mentioned episodes of violence.

Ella’s brother, Granville Hawes married Sarah Rachel Campbell, the daughter of John Beazer Campbell, a prominent area farmer from Loudoun County, Virginia, and a pioneer of the Fort Osage Township. Granville was not well regarded by Sarah’s father as is evidenced by a portion of his will which roughly states that, “…should Sarah marry Granville Hawes, she will not receive her inheritance until she reaches the age of 39 years, because I (Campbell) feel he is not fit to provide for her well-being…” This is a very harsh description of Granville, but not an unfamiliar feeling for many fathers. And, yes, Campbell did actually name Granville Hawes in his will. This gives strong evidence that, early on, the family was not more than simply, poor dirt-farmers, a condition that endured for two generations, at least.

Despite the feelings of John Campbell, Granville Hawes was the great provider in the family. He married Sarah after her inheritance was secured. Joining with his in-laws, George Grubb Campbell and Mary Elizabeth Virginia (Campbell) Worley, they created the Cedar Grove and Walnut Grove Stock Farms just north of Mecklin. The large property left to Campbell’s three children provided many mules for the local farmers, as well as for the First World War. Sarah and Granville’s land was still held by a grandson until around 1995, when it was sold, the greater portion sold to a development company. The smaller portion still contains the house built by Granville and is still in great condition. Headstones placed on several family gravesites were purchased by Granville. He helped many neighbors weather through the Great Depression by purchasing their land and selling it back later, without interest, if they could afford to repay him. Several housing additions in Oak Grove, Missouri bear the Hawes name.

Two other Hawes brothers, Turner and Walter, migrated to Arizona, likely late in the 1890’s, and began farming and ranching in the Tempe-Mesa area. The two became quite respected and prominent, assisting in the development of the irrigation system there. They returned to Missouri in 1905 to purchase milking cows to take to Arizona in order to provide dairy products to their ranch-hand’s families. A reunion was featured by their younger brother, Ted Hawes while they were in Missouri, and a photograph taken then shows the three generations of the Hawes family, including the family of Willie and Ella Lunceford. Jeter Hawes, the last of the Hawes children, also went to Tempe-Mesa to improve his health and raised chickens on a small farm there.

Granville’s father, Oliver never “amounted to much.” According to family stories shared through one of Granville’s daughters, Oliver and, at some point Willie Lunceford, were apparently seldom in good health and were unable to create much wealth from their efforts. Oliver Hawes was close to what is considered elderly, even when he married Alcinda he was middle-aged. When he came to Missouri, he was probably old enough to be feeble and easily fatigued. We don’t have an accurate account of his condition, but the risks and effects of heat-stroke are common in this part of the country; it’s possible this is why he couldn’t provide a living. Or, they may have just been lazy, as Granville’s daughter believed.

As was stated above, regarding bad health and inability to work, the same was said of Willie Lunceford, after a point. The same daughter of Granville, who mentioned Oliver’s poor condition, didn’t carry much regard for Willie either, when it came to his inability to work. It was said that neither Oliver, nor Willie spent enough time in the fields, and in most opinions within the family, they were lazy. She was quite young at the last years of Willie’s life, and it is doubtful she actually knew Oliver. This information is just family lore, as I see it. However, I have a post card hand-written by Ella, my great-great grandmother, to her niece May Lunceford, daughter of Shelt, which says; “…Uncle is feeling better…,” leading one to speculate that he had some chronic disease. When they left Virginia, Willie and Ella had two sons, Walter Fulton and Fredrick Turner, Freddie died when they arrived in Missouri. They had five more sons in Missouri; Lewis, Richard Henry, William ‘Bud’, Curtis, and Irving.  Ella didn’t have a daughter, but being so fond of May, she would invite her to visit quite often.

Following the death of Willie in 1909, Ella and her younger sons eventually left the farms and moved into Independence, living in the Fairmount District where John worked for the County. Shelt and Frances watched their many children disperse throughout the whole country. After John died, Madie was cared for by other family members and finally by their daughter, Alice. The other of their daughters ended up in California working for the Salvation Army. Most of these early Missouri settlers are buried in the small Oakland Methodist Cemetery located just south of the Lake City area, mentioned previously. Oliver and Alcinda are buried in the Mecklin Methodist Cemetery. Mecklin no longer exists as a town, but at the time the family arrived, it was a very busy, bustling town. The Hawes’ who migrated to Arizona only returned for rare visits, and eventually stopped returning to Missouri altogether. Having sold the last of the family land holdings, the youngest descendant of Granville, who was adopted, resides in California.

The remaining of Willie Lunceford’s family are scattered around Missouri, all of them descending from just three of the seven sons of Willie and Ella. Walter, their oldest, died in 1917 from an accidental, self-inflicted shotgun blast to the abdomen which severed his femoral artery. Henry died in 1925 from heart disease. Bud, their fourth son, along with the widow of Henry, was killed in a head-on collision with a drunk driver on US-50 highway in 1953. Curtis died from a ‘self-inflicted gunshot,’ ruled a suicide in 1938. However, some suspected he was murdered by thugs resisting the unionization of the Ford Assembly plant in Kansas City. Irving, the youngest son, died in 1960 from a stroke.

The last living son of Willie and Ella was my great grandfather, Lewis Normen. I knew Grandpa Lewis because he lived with us in the year prior to his death. He was suffering with dementia, and had a bad habit of pinching my brothers and me when we came too close. My sister, on the other hand, could sit in his lap all day, and he never pinched her. He had a deep voice with a strong Missouri drawl. He chewed black, plug tobacco and the juice stained the whiskers near the corners of his mouth. He stood nearly 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighed about 190 lbs., his favorite pastime was catfishing, and he was awfully fond of cherry pie. He once recalled an episode on his boyhood farm near Lake City, which my father attempted to record on a portable reel-to-reel tape recorder. My parents, my siblings and I sat and listened as he struggled through tears of laughter to tell about a time that a cat wanted milk from a cow he was milking, so it decided to climb the cow’s leg to get some. I don’t remember the details of the story; I only remember the thunderous laughter of that hard, old man whose mind was giving way to age.

Grandpa Lewis died in 1970 at the age of 81 years. After his death, I was given a charm that I assume he had received from his daughter, Lucille, who was a missionary in Thailand most of her life. It is hollow, being made from two pieces of pressed tin fused together, displaying three elephant’s heads; research shows it is a Hindi-Buddhist symbol known as Erawan. I still have it and have included a photo. In about 1996, while researching our family, I received an email from a researcher named John Lunceford who lives in Terra Haute, Indiana. He was attempting to relocate Grandpa Lewis’ family, and he found me through a genealogy site. He had a hand-written letter he received from Grandpa Lewis that gave his account of our family’s story as best he knew. I now have a copy of the letter which was written the year after I was born. It’s strange how things come back around sometimes.

Finally, as a kind of footnote to all of this information, we found that we have no biological connection to the Lunceford family, after my sister submitted her DNA to AncestryDNA. It appears that our biological grandmother was a bit careless 6 years into her marriage and, since her husband was unable to father children due to a childhood injury involving the kick of a mule, my father was grossly mistreated by his ‘dad.’ His ‘dad’ knew he could not be the father, but it was never discussed until my dad was raising his own family. It was only after an inquiry by a ‘match’ individual following the DNA testing, that we’ve suspect who our biological grandfather might have been. My mother was adopted in Hutchinson, Kansas when only two days old. She knew she was adopted and was able to eventually locate and connect with her biological siblings. So, our family history has completely reversed from what we have known most of our lives. Mom didn’t have a family and now she does, dad had a family and now he doesn’t. We’ve only ever been Lunceford’s, no matter how good or bad we’ve been at it, and we still are. I can’t shake off the ghosts of the long-dead family members that I’ve brought back to life through my research. They still claim me, and I still claim them. After all, they weren’t perfect, either.

Tim Lunceford
Independence, Missouri

Friday, February 15, 2019

Back To A Simpler Place And Time

Many were the times we converged on Ernest and Cathryn's Bob-Dell Farm in Nokesville,VA for family gatherings and holidays. Here we have Ernest Chilton Lunsford Sr. and his wife Cathryn (front) with their children (left to right); Cathryn Virginia, Constance Minerva,
Jane ElizabethErnest Chilton Jr., and Dell Robert. (circa 1970s). Click on their names for their family sheets.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Adventures in Y-Chromosome DNA Testing

Of the 23 pairs of chromosomes in every cell of our body, only the Y chromosome is male-specific. Biological males will have a copy of this chromosome together with one copy of X. Females on the other hand have two copies of X. The X and Y chromosomes are referred to as the sex chromosomes. The other 22 chromosome pairs are the autosomals and they encode all of the proteins that make us human. Y contains about 60 million base pairs (60 Mbp) of DNA and encodes 50 – 60 genes; the most critical, SRY provides instructions for making a protein called the sex-determining region Y protein. This protein is essential for male sexual development. 

Of particular interest to genealogists, a large portion of Y does not encode any genetic information at all and plays more of a role in the physical structure of the chromosome. And most fortunately for us, the vast majority of Y does not recombine with the other autosomes. When mutations do arise, they occur in the form of short tandem repeats (STRs) or single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).  These are passed down directly from father to son in a direct male line of descent from prehistoric days to the present. Assuming no "non-paternity events" such as name changes, bastard sons, adoption, etc., a particular Y lineage can be traced back genetically tens of thousands of years ago. Amazing!

Due to the rate of mutations in STRs, they are useful for determining the relatedness of males in genealogical time frames (~500 years to the present). Whereas SNPs are useful for determining relatedness in anthropologic time frames (tens of thousands of years to the present). In most western cultures, males inherit their surname from the biological father. In medieval England before the Norman Conquest, communities were small and individuals usually only had a first name or nickname. But the Norman leaders taking over Britain after 1066 introduced the concept of hereditary surnames. As these names developed, many were derived from the geography of the local terrain. These are known as toponymic or topographical surnames. While others could be related to the male’s occupation or family status as "son of".

In genealogical time frames the Lunsford or Lunceford surname is ancient and English. It is possibly related to the Luxford surname as well. Most contemporary research indicates that the ancestral family originated in the Sussex area of southern England and may be derived from the Norman/French Lundesford family. Regardless, for US-based genealogies, Y testing can help us confirm paper records and potentially afford a way to link together various separate twigs of our family tree.

At present, Baldwin is our earliest known ancestor. We have very little information on his parentage or local origins. That is why I would like to conduct a basic Y analysis on his lines (both the Anna Ball and Judith Creel lineages). This should confirm (or not) living  males as being direct paternal descendants of Baldwin. Once that is accomplished, then we can compare our family genetic profile to that of other Lunsford/Lunceford/Luxfords clans in the US and Europe and perhaps link us all together in some way. 

A preliminary DNA analysis of my Y chromosome indicates that I am a member of the I1 haplogroup. You can read all about the theoretical derivation and ancient history of this chromosome here. It is primarily Nordic/Germanic.

A DNA study is especially important for our Baldwin lineage because I am aware of other US-based Lunsford/Lunceford researchers that have done extensive DNA research on their twig of the tree. They are members of the R1b haplogroup. Definitely European with a strong English geography, but a completely different beast in genetic terms.

While there are some examples of disparate haplogroups occurring in a common surname, it is rare and normally indicates either distinct chronological origins or some kind of previous non-paternal event. Only additional testing on living males can settle this type of thing.

A note of caution on autosomal DNA testing available from, Family Tree DNA and others: these tests look at the 22 autosomes and can show you very recent genealogical events (usually around five generations back or less with any meaningful accuracy). They are fun for the novice and aimed squarely at the general public. They provide a rough approximation of geographic origin and heritage from both the paternal and maternal lines. Except for finding lost parents and first or second cousins (especially if you are adopted and looking for your birth relatives), they are of little value for serious paternity and surname studies going back to medieval times or later. 

The human chromosome spread was from the National Library of Medicine/NIH. Haplogroup maps were taken from Eupedia. Click on them for larger images.

R. Dwayne Lunsford, PhD

Friday, February 1, 2019

Family Tree Is Live!

Edgar Marshall and Ethel Maria (Wine) Lunsford

The most recent update of the family tree and surname directory are now live. You can access by clicking the "Family Tree / Surname Directory" link in the right column under "Critical Links". That will take you to an acknowledgments page with four main links at the top. "Surname Directory" is the actual family tree link while the "All Names in Tree" will take you to a complete listing of individuals in alphabetical order by surname.

Everything in blue is a hyperlink, so please click away to explore the family sheets and connections! If you see any errors or omissions please let me know.

Note: the on-line version of the tree has been privatized (birth dates for living individuals have been excluded). If you are a family member and would like a GEDCOM with complete information please shoot me an email.

Soon to come will be pages containing ancestor photos and critical documents.

The only artifact I have from Edgar and Ethel's household; a large serving platter

Monday, January 21, 2019

A Close Encounter with COL Mosby's Pistol

Back in 2013 while attending a reunion of Mosby's Rangers descendants in Middleburg, VA I had the pleasure of meeting Don Hakenson, author of several historical books on the Rangers. Turns out, we are distant cousins with Baldwin Lunsford as our common ancestor.

A docent at the Stuart-Mosby Cavalry Museum, he also leads bus tours of sites around Mosby's Confederacy.  The very next weekend he was to be at the museum for a bus tour. "If you can get there extra early before the bus leaves I can let you hold Mosby's pistol".

I said whaaaaaat?

Needless to say, I was there well before any of the tour patrons arrived. No way was I going to miss out on this opportunity to actually hold a Mosby historical artifact. This pistol was donated to the museum by the Mosby family. But I'm sure he had more than one as the Rangers were known to carry a whole bag of Colt 1860s when raiding.

Don's book on Ranger Frank Rahm and a more detailed analysis of the Cobbler Mountain artillery incident involving John H. Lunceford is an excellent read.

On the way back from the museum I followed Don's directions to John's grave in Delaplane (Piedmont Station), VA.

R. Dwayne Lunsford, PhD

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Baldwin Ridge on Lunsford Mountain

From 1607 until the Revolution, the Church of England reigned supreme in Virginia second only to the General Assembly in terms of political power . Besides fostering the numinous life of everyday Virginians, the local parish took care of what we today would consider basic social services; care of the poor, orphans, widows, bastard children, etc. In some of the other colonies this also included overseeing essential services like road construction. Parishioners were actually taxed for not attending service. How times have changed!

Hamilton Parish was established in 1730. The first Episcopal church was built in Warrenton in 1816. Colonial times were harsh and mother churches often established "chapels-of-ease". These were more accessible satellite churches for folks living outside of town or on the frontier. They often couldn't attend service because of the travel distances involved and/or the impassable nature of dirt roads in the winter.

Christ's Chapel on Baldwin's Ridge was one such chapel-of-ease. Completed in 1883 as a "mission" church of St. James Church, it functioned until 1941 but eventually was razed in the 1950s.  The exact location was on Mate's Hill, part of Lunsford's Mountain a prominent hill that begins just outside of town, briefly parallels US15, 29 & 211 and then crosses this road at New Baltimore. From there it becomes Pound Mountains before finally joining the ridge of Bull Run Mountain at Thoroughfare Gap.

"Baldwin" ridge? "Lunsford's Mountain"? "Close geographic proximity to Bull Run Mountain"? Simple coincidence? Who knows. But after wondering about this place for years I finally had to do a recon. Right after our annual family Christmas breakfast in Manassas (2018) we decided to scope this place out. The Find-a-Grave entry showed a new sign for the cemetery that was improved as an Eagle Scout project. That seemed to indicate that there still were graves there. Because of the establishment date (1883) I didn't expect to find Baldwin's grave but where there any other Lunsfords buried there?

No coordinates or street address was provided on Find-a-Grave so we began by turning off US29 onto Baldwin St. (how appropriate). After spending about twenty minutes taking back road turns to ascend and parallel the ridge we found the cemetery sign right along Baldwin Ridge Rd. (at least they are consistent).

It was a bit weathered, so the Find-a-Grave picture must have been taken right after the Eagle Scout completed his service project several years ago. The cemetery is situated on a narrow strip between the road and a housing development. Besides the history sign board (see top) there was the ubiquitous Periwinkle we see on so many abandoned country grave sites in northern Virginia. Also visible were signs of an old cast-iron fence, many unmarked graves and this one example of a marker.

Heading home we continued south to the intersection with Dumfries Rd. (SR605). This road is historical, having been one of the first colonial roads in Virginia, essential for the transport of tobacco and other goods from the Shenandoah Valley and Piedmont to the once viable port of Dumfries.

One other Lunsford connection; just south-west of this area, lying between Meetze and Old Auburn roads, is a short piece of paved road called "Lunsford Rd".

So the question remains; is there any connection between these geographical locations and our little branch of the Lunsford family? Avenues of future research will require combing through land ownership records for these areas and perhaps the parish records from St. James Church. Only time will tell.

R. Dwayne Lunsford, PhD

Monday, January 14, 2019

That Little Old Cabin in Halfway

The Halfway Cabin in 2014 (click for larger img.)

Welcome to the inaugural posting for "Bull Run Mountain Memories"! This blog will cover the life and times of the Lunceford/Lunsford families believed to be derived from one Baldwin Lunsford (born abt. 1764) of Fauquier County Virginia. He is our earliest known ancestor. This is a work in progress and meant to be a replacement for my circa 2001 web site The Lunsfords; Six Generations and Counting. Soon to come will be an updated surname directory and family tree for our immediate lines as well as photo and document archives. There also will be a separate page on DNA testing. So bookmark and stay tuned!

In 2001, I was fortunate to be introduced to Beverly Aiken (nee Lunceford) of Havana, KS. Her father, James Shelby Lunceford, Sr. (died in 1964, son of Samuel Shelton Lunceford, grandson of my Great-great grandfather, Elijah Chilton Lunceford) claimed to have visited Elijah's cabin in 1962. We assume this was Elijah's cabin as her family's oral tradition claimed that Samuel was born there. I was intrigued! From recent oral histories we knew that the ancestral homelands for our branch of the family centered around the Halfway, Marshall and The Plains areas of Fauquier County in the shadow of Bull Run Mountain. But no one seemed to know anything about an extant cabin remaining in Halfway with a connection to Elijah.

Beverly returned to the area in 2003 with the hope of revisiting the cabin; entering the property just as they did back in 1962 through the field behind Long Branch church (just off SR626). From her report they didn't walk back very far and seeing a pile of rocks concluded that the house had been razed. But curiosity was killing me and in the winter of 2014 (to take advantage of dead underbrush), me, my dad and his cousin mounted an expedition. For us, the back field behind the church didn't look all that accessible so we drove down the driveway to the side of the church. This led to several houses and farms. At the end of that road we came to a little house with the owner in the yard. After introducing ourselves and what we were after he pointed to the woods just across his meadow. "Is that what you are looking for?"It was like an epiphany. Right there in the trees at the bottom of a wooded knoll was the house that matched Beverly's pictures from 1962!

A well developed private driveway ascended the knoll on the edge of the property. We drove back there for a look but except for a small lake there were no structures. A side path from that driveway went directly to the cabin. There were several dry lay stone walls (including a neat retaining wall around back), a stone cairn, a spring and pond (flowing well), but no other obvious structures. The house had been white washed and it appeared to be recently fixed up a bit. A power meter box looked new on the side and there was evidence of modern insulation being added to the attic and then removed. It was as if someone had planned to move in but changing their mind at the last minute. There was no sign of a new power line to feed the house or method of sewage disposal.

Comparisons between the 2014 pictures and 1962 scans provided by Beverly
Approach from the modern driveway

Approach from the Long Branch church side

Door and stairs to the attic. Rear ground level door to the right

Ridge poles and log detail in attic

This is a log cabin with a textured sheet metal covering that matched the 1962 photos. Although somewhat open to the elements, the roof was intact and except for a rickety porch, overall it was in really good shape considering its apparent age. During the 1800s the forest to the sides and rear most likely was meadow. I checked this area closely for signs of other structures. Nothing was obvious but there were some stone traces that may have been very shallow footers to a shed or small barn.

Stone cairn on the path toward the cabin from the private driveway

This services both the main fireplace on the second floor as well as the small fireplace in the basement

Rear view from top of retaining wall

Retaining wall around backyard
Note steps incorporated into the lay facilitating access to what would have been the rear meadow
Could this be Lunsford stone work?

Rear view from top of knoll

Small cemetery over the top of the knoll
~ 500 yrds from the house
approximately four graves but only one marked with a headstone

The single marker
CSA veteran's stone for George H. Smith
Co. C, 8th VA Infantry
Elijah is noteworthy as having been a member of Co. E, 43rd VA CAV CSA (Mosby's Men). Family oral tradition tells that his primary job was horse thief to help supply the Rangers and to send the extras to Richmond for the war effort. As a child, my grandfather (Ernest Chilton Lunsford Sr.) knew this man in life. He would relate the tale that at one point COL Mosby told Elijah to go climb a tree and look out for the Yankees whereby he was shot through the ear. Of the two pictures I have of him only his left ear is visible and that one appears intact. 

We have no way of knowing if the cemetery over the back hill was associated with the occupants of the cabin. But after reading a first draft of this post, Tim Lunceford recalled seeing a genealogical connection to George H. Smith in his tree. Apparently Smith's daughter, Madie Ann Smith married Elijah's son John Henry Lunceford. Three of Elijah's sons left Virginia for Missouri as adults; Samuel Shelton, John Henry and William Rhodes Lunceford. Samuel and William went out first followed by John after he married Madie Smith. Also of note, in the 1870 and 1880 census, George Smith is listed as a stone mason.

Final Notes

Could this really be Elijah's cabin? According to Beverly, "My dad always felt like this was the house he was looking for because he remembered his dad and his Uncle John [John Henry Lunceford] saying the 2nd floor was ground level in the back and the front door ground level in the front". But did Elijah actually own this property or live there at any time? I suspect the only way to tell for sure is to do a detailed search of the land records. 

Census records and a death certificate describe Elijah as a farmer. Family oral tradition tells us that he also was a "Waller"; a stonemason who could build dry lay stone walls without mortar. These are common around the fields of rural Fauquier County and one could imagine that almost any farmer of the time might construct these as part of their field clearing efforts. The stone work on the foundation and chimney as well as the surrounding dry walls were first rate. However, the support pilings for the front porch were amateurish to say the least. I'm no architect, but I suspect that as a log cabin, the porch either was added later or replaced in modern times. Besides the poor quality of the stone work on the pilings this was evident in the modern era framing boards of the porch. The fact that an active spring and pool were on the property was note worthy. As was the large stone cairn. It is not clear what the function of that cairn might have been. It was dry lay not just a simple pile of stones. It took some artistic effort to build.

Was the Smith family neighbors just over the hill? Or did they have a closer association with the cabin in some way? Landlords perhaps, or vice versa? Hopefully a detailed study of the land records for this area will clarify the association between the two families.

As an aside, in 2018 Tim Lunceford discovered a National Register document for the Little River Rural Historic District. On page-104, the Logan's Mill ruin (circa 1830) is described on Barton's Branch of Little River situated a third of a mile east of stone Bridge #6233. This area is further down SR626 on the outskirts of Middleburg, VA. The intact miller's house is said to be banked within a cleared hillside; a square, one and one-half story single cell structure built into the hillside and surrounded with various dry stone walls. The document goes on to state that this was a common way for early Virginian industrialists to accommodate the rolling elevations of the natural landscape.

After leaving the Logan family this industrial property was first sold in 1869 to Elijah C. Lunceford for $716 and later resold in 1875 to a neighboring farmer, Samuel Craig. It is interesting to note that a Samuel Craig along with Bailey Crain and James Crain were witnesses to Baldwin Lunceford's will in 1847.

R. Dwayne Lunsford, PhD