Tombstone Tuesday: Joseph Faubion, the man who “died twice”

Joseph Faubion was born in Clay County, Missouri on September 7, 1842 to parents Moses and Nancy (Hightower) Faubion.  Moses was first married to Patsy Holcomb, and after she died he married Nancy Hightower in 1841.  According to the 1850 census Nancy was nineteen years younger than Moses and Joseph appears to have been their first child. According to census records the family resided in Clay County where Moses was a farmer.  When the Civil War broke out, Joseph and his brother Jacob joined the Missouri Cavalry to fight as Confederates.  It appears that Joseph enlisted in Clay County on August 13, 1862.  A very faint and hard-to-read record seems to indicate he may have been a prisoner of war, but I’m not entirely sure the record is his because of the details to follow. Little is known about his service except what was written in his obituary in 1897.  The Lamar Democrat provided a few details but no dates as to when he first “died”.  His story was much like those I wrote about yesterday (Monday Musings: Attending Your Own Funeral).  The obituary only stated he was fighting somewhere in the mountains of Tennessee when he was stricken with yellow fever, an all too common disease which felled many a solider during the Civil War. After contracting the disease his condition deteriorated rapidly and when his heart ceased beating Joseph was declared dead by a physician.  Funeral preparations were made, but just as the coffin was about to be lowered into the grave someone heard a muffled sound.  The lid was quickly removed and to the amazement of...

Tombstone Tuesday: Tonsillitis Jackson

I know, I know – you probably think this story belongs in the Far-Out Friday category.  Yet, it’s truly true there was a person named Tonsillitis Jackson.  I ran across the name while researching another Tombstone Tuesday article (another unusual name – stay tuned!). Tonsillitis Jackson was born to Emsy (named spelled “Emgibe” on a government record) and Eddie (Basfield) Jackson of Oklahoma on November 7, 1932.  It seems Tonsillitis received his unusual name because his mother had a sore throat at the time.  Two years later the Jacksons had another son and named him Meningitis. Emsy and Eddie had four more children and continued naming them after various diseases and maladies.  Four girls followed the boys: Appendicitis, Laryngitis, Jakeitis and Peritonitis.  The unusual names first came to the public’s attention in early 1937 following the birth of Appendicitis on December 25, 1936.  Time made mention of the family with children named after diseases in the “Miscellany” section of its January 25, 1937 issue. The Afro American wanted to know “what’s in a name” on January 2, 1937.  The paper reported the Jacksons were having a hard time devising a short nickname for their newborn.  The boys already had their nicknames – Tonsy and Mennie.  The story also made international news in the Australian Worker on March 30, 1938 – according to this story the doctor had come up with the name Appendicitis.  According to another source Emsy and Eddie finally settled on “Pendy” for a nickname.  No word on what the remaining girls’ nicknames were (Perry, Larry, Jake maybe?). Tonsillitis made news of his own in 1951 when...

Tombstone Tuesday: John Wesley Fly

John Wesley Fly was born in Barry County, Missouri on March 7, 1844 to parents Asher Pipkin and Marillay (Cantrell) Fly.  Asher and Marillay were born in Tennessee and John was one of fourteen children born to their marriage. His parents were devout Christians, Asher having first professed his faith in 1840 by joining the Methodist Church and four years later joining the Methodist Episcopal Church. Marillay died in 1860 and Asher married Minerva Doty in 1862 and fathered four children with her.  Meanwhile, the Civil War erupted and the state of Missouri was sharply divided as to its loyalties.  Citizens of Barry County gathered soon after the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter and declared their intentions to remain neutral, fearing civil war could erupt within the borders of their county.  Yet, despite the so-called Gadfly Resolution of 1861 (Gadfly was later changed to Corsicana) the county was indeed divided. According to the White River Valley Historical Quarterly, the county was “sharply divided”1 with northern and eastern parts of the county solidly Union and the western and southern parts favoring the Confederacy.  Of course, there were exceptions even around Gadfly where John’s sweetheart Charity Clark lived with her family. John’s entry at Find-A-Grave, taken directly from The History of Fresno County, California2 indicates the Clark family had Southern sympathies, while their future son-in-law joined the Union Army in Fayetteville, Arkansas on January 3, 1863.  He served in Company H of the Missouri Cavalry and fought at Little Rock and Camden, suffering nary a scratch. During one furlough John returned home and found Charity had remained true to...

Tombstone Tuesday: Kinnis and Pocahontas Fritter

Several weeks ago I came across an entry at Find-A-Grave which intrigued me – Pocahontas McVeigh Fritter who is buried in Franklin County, Ohio.  Both her first name and married name are both a bit unusual – there must be a story there.  Then I found her husband Kinnis buried in Nebraska, several years preceding her death… definitely a story there! Kinnis Fritter Kinnis Fritter was born on October 10, 1832 in Virginia.  I believe his father was Enoch (or Enock) Fritter, but the name of his mother is unclear.  Enoch married Polly Knight in 1825 in Virginia, where Kinnis was born, but the History of Fairfield County, Ohio indicates Enoch Fritter married a woman named Elizabeth Courtright.  If so, it’s possible Polly was his mother. In 1850 Enoch was enumerated with wife Catherine and four children (Kinnis was “Dennis”).  Here I found one of the many frustrating aspects of genealogical research – either the census taker or the transcriptionist butchers the name.  In this case, I think it was the transcriptionist.  To me it’s clear the name was written down as “Fritter”, but the transcriptionist recorded “Fartter”.  In cases such as this, unless a researcher is utilizing a broad search for a particular name they may come up empty-handed and frustrated. Enoch was a farmer and died in 1856.  Kinnis set out on his own path to success by becoming an attorney and politician.  In that era, it would have been more common for young men to study law with an established law practice rather than receive a formal law school education.  Throughout his years as an attorney...

Tombstone Tuesday: Flavius Terry Laffoon

     Flavius Terry Laffoon was born on July 28, 1833 in Lawrence County, Tennessee to parents Matthew and Elizabeth Murrell Laffoon.  In 1840 Matthew and his family were enumerated in Giles County, Tennessee.  Family historians estimate the family migrated to Arkansas around 1845, but by 1850 Elizabeth was a widow and living with her children in Carroll County, Arkansas.  Nine of her children, including Flavius, were enumerated in the same household that year: Thomas (26); Elizabeth (22); Mary (20); Flavius (17); Edward (16); Lycurgus (14); Gideon (12); Evaline (8); Matthew (5). Flavius married Judia (or Juda) Thomas, daughter of Nicholas and Amanda Thomas, on December 24, 1854 and together they had seven children: Thomas, John, William, Andrew Jackson, Amanda, James and Dora. While not everyone in Arkansas supported the Confederate cause during the Civil War, nevertheless the state seceded from the Union on May 6, 1861.  Some residents of the northern counties of the state (Searcy, Marion, Carroll, Izard, Fulton and Van Buren), however, were pro-Union and members of the Arkansas Peace Society as noted in another Tombstone Tuesday article published in 2014 (read it here). On June 14, 1862 Flavius enlisted in Izard County and joined the 27th Arkansas Infantry which officially organized at Yellville the following month.  Missourian James Shaler was appointed as colonel of the regiment, but soon proved to be unpopular with his charges.  Shaler was vehemently anti-Union and focused on liberating his home state from the Union, although the 27th had been organized primarily for the defense of northern Arkansas. Arkansans were outraged when Shaler replaced the Confederate flag with the Missouri flag.  More...

Tombstone Tuesday: The Trials and Persecution of Reverend Joy Hamlet Fairchild (Part One)

“I am either the worst of men, or the most persecuted and injured – either a knave or a martyr. Let the public read my story and judge for themselves.”  J.H. Fairchild, Exeter, N.H., December 1844 While browsing through my list of potential Tombstone Tuesday articles, I stumbled across an interesting story, as they say “ripped from the headlines” of the 1840s and ’50s, about a minister unjustly tried for adultery in the Boston Municipal Court. Joy Hamlet Fairchild was born on April 24, 1790 in Guilford, Connecticut to parents Lewis and Mehitable Waterous Fairchild.  Lewis’ first wife Sarah Waterous was Mehitable’s sister and Joy was the eighth and last child of the second marriage.  Lewis died when Joy was but thirteen months old and credited his mother’s prayers and counsels for his later successes in life — perhaps even his ability to face unthinkable challenges and controversy. Around the age of eighteen as he was preparing to start college “it pleased God to visit the town with the special influences of his Spirit.”  Joy would date his conversion to Christianity to that period of time as he made a public profession of faith.  He entered Yale College in the fall of 1809 and graduated in 1813.  Thereafter, he studied theology and lived with the family of the Reverend Dr. Ely.  In 1814 he received a license to preach the gospel and two years later became the pastor of a church in East Hartford, Connecticut. On June 24, 1816 he was ordained and remained at the East Hartford church until August of 1827 when he asked for a dismission. ...