The Graves family and friends are gathering in Frankfort, Kentucky
Frankfort, Kentucky, and its surrounding regions was an early destination for those Graves ancestors who departed colonial Virginia in the late 1700s.
Our rendezvous in Frankfort in 2019 will build upon our earlier Graves family gatherings in Harrisonburg/Staunton, Virginia in 2015, in Bardstown, Kentucky and three surrounding counties in 2016, and in Williamsburg/Jamestown, Virginia most recently in 2017.
Known and unknown cousins are welcome to come together from various lines of the Graves family. These even include close Y-DNA matches.
In this area of Kentucky, our focus will turn to the following numerical lines of the Graves Family Association (GFA): 62, 94, 96, 111, 174, 261, 602, 606, and 630, as well as 46, 77, 96, 111, 118, 150, 152, 215, 220, 270, and 511.
From recent DNA testing, FamilyTree DNA identifies these “Graves family tree branches” have shared common “recent” ancestors, dating back to the 1700s in Virginia.
Not one of these Graves lines? No problem! Join us anyway. While it’s not known how some of these branches connect, figuring out our mutual historical connections is part of the fun. This conference is about your family. Who knows what we will discover!
Final complete arrangements for our program are still being confirmed. Bookmark this page and check back periodically for updates.
Sep. 24, Tuesday, Arrival Day
Join a discussion of Graves family lines.
Evening dinner together by reservation
Sep 25, 26, 27, Wednesday-Thursday-Friday
Speakers and presentations
Tour local and Graves family historical sites across four counties
A block of rooms is available to you at a discount rate at the Fairfield Inns & Suites-Frankfort, Ky. View the facility, amenities, and rooms HERE.
Our discount rate is $109 per night plus tax for any nights between Sunday, Sep 22 through Friday night Sep 27, with departure Sep 28. Most rooms are queen beds. Others arrangements are available by request.
To take advantage of the discount rate, you must telephone to make your reservation.
TO RESERVE YOUR ROOM
Call: (502) 695-8881.
Identify our group: “The Graves Gathering”
Provide our code: “GGRS”
Reserve early. No online reservations are available for the GGRS discount.
Dan James gave Charlie Chaplin the unique American verbiage the British actor required when Dan co-wrote The Great Dictator with Chaplin. His story is featured in the chapter “All For the Underdog” in Volume I of Jesse James Soul Liberty.
Each time I must enter the passing of another James family member into the master genealogy database for Stray Leaves, I do so with a measure of sadness. On rare occasion, such as in recent minutes, I do so with difficulty.
Barbara Pierce Bush was not of James blood. She is an in-law to her Bush family who is our blood. Like many in-laws of our family, Barbara Bush was a stellar influence whose impact never will be under-measured but celebrated instead.
For those among our family who found themselves at odds with Bush politics, none that I know ever found themselves at odds with the political understanding and insights that Barbara provided. She connected the dots with effective savvy and sometimes necessary glue.
Barbara Bush is a unique American treasure. Prayers will be left for those she left behind. For each tear, there will be a smile, followed by the music of laughter. She is a person well worth remembering and celebrating.
Smith denies he is a third great-grandson of Susan Prudence James & John Wesley Smith, despite bearing all the customary genetic physical features of James descendants, including the telltale ear formation.
Smith is not the first to deny his kinship. Nor will he probably be the last. His art is rather ironic since it is constructed around the use of mirrors and reflective imagery. On the other hand, outside of Stray Leaves research into Smith’s ancestry, his art may be his only reflection of his self-constructed identity.
Beware Minnesota Historical Society & Good Riddance as Executive Director of Kentucky Historical Society Departs
Former Executive-Director Kent Whitworth is the fool who bamboozled the Board of Directors of the Kentucky Historical Society into filing a lawsuit against its own members! He charged me and other members with trying to create a shadow government. Really! After filing his frivolous lawsuit, he then failed to prosecute it.
This week Mark Griffin queried me. Mark is the reference specialist at the Logan County Public Library in Russellville, Kentucky. Mark questioned, “Have you come across any information saying Gov. Thomas Crittenden of Missouri ever met with Gov. Luke Blackburn of Kentucky in Louisville to discuss the matter of Jesse James?”
My answer was as follows:
“I don’t know of any specific meeting, however, the following is known. Thomas T. Crittenden was a close ally and supporter of the James family, the family relationship stretching back at least a couple of generations and closer, following the killing of Jesse James. Crittenden had put out the $10,000 reward for Jesse’s capture, not for his murder.
“Dr. Luke Pryor Blackburn, born in Woodford County, Kentucky, contained two epidemics in Natchez, Mississippi in 1848 and in1854, one of yellow fever and another pf cholera. He also was a physician to Gen. John Anthony Quitman. Next to Quitman’s plantation on St. Catherine St. was the Forks of the Road slave market, operated by three brothers of the James family – Thomas Green, David Daniel, & John Duke James. The father of the James brothers, Thomas James, was a charge d’affaires to the Spanish government. Later he retired to Hyde’s Landing in Nashville, Tennessee where Frank and Jesse visited and lived periodically. Blackburn and the James surely would have known one another in this period.
“During the Civil War, Blackburn served with Sterling Price together with A.J. James. A.J. was attorney general under Gov. Beriah Magoffin when Magoffin refused to send four regiments to Lincoln for the war. During the war, Magoffin’s descendants are a first cousin of Blackburn. A.J. James served under Preston Leslie, and it is said under Gen. Joseph Orville “Jo” Shelby, who is Blackburn’s nephew. After the war, James would become Secretary of State. In retirement, A.J. James was president of the Farmers Bank of Frankfort, with Blackburn’s cousin Edmund Haynes Taylor on its Board of Directors.
“In the Civil War period, Blackburn shipped infected clothing to the North and to Lincoln, in particular, intending to kill him. Months after the war ended, Quantrill and the James brothers rode through Kentucky en route to Washington. It is said they intended to assassinate Lincoln. They were halted by Maj. James Bridgewater. Quantrill was killed. Frank James surrendered. Blackburn’s nephew Jo Shelby testified at Frank’s trial and Frank was exonerated.
“Blackburn is related to a small number of James. He also is kin to Presidents George Washington, James Madison, and the Lee family of Virginia of Gen. Robert E. Lee, as well as V.P. Richard Mentor Johnson. He also is related to my second wife through her grandfather R. J. Reynolds. Most of these kinships are in the third to fifth cousin categories.
“Given all of these relationships, it is entirely possible that Dr. Luke Pryor Blackburn talked with Gov. Crittenden.”
I referred Mark Griffin to Dr. Thomas J. Sabetta of the University of Kentucky, who recently was a panelist at the 2017 James-Younger Gang & Family conference. Dr. Sabetta currently is writing two books, one about Capt. Delos T. “Yankee” Bligh who pursued the James Gang, and another on “Dynamite” Dick Mitchel, a rider with John Hunt Morgan, Basil Duke, Sue Munday, and Sam Berry.
In this historic home in Paris, Kentucky grew up Elizabeth “Betsy” Wright, the spouse of Justice John Thomas James, a son of Capt. John James & Dinah Allen. Their long line of James descendants includes living family today. Notable among them is Richard “Dick” Overgard, who first contributed the data on this line to Stray Leaves almost 20 years ago.
Other notables in this line also include Sheriff John Payne Kelly Sr. of Kelly’s Ford in Culpeper County, VA., made famous in the Civil War. The Sheriff married Betsy’s daughter Margaret Wright James. Their son Granville James Kelly Sr. was postmaster at Kelly’ Ford and the father of Alexander Doniphan Kelly. At Kelly’s Ford, this family essentially knew everyone personally in and around Kelly’s Ford, including those associated with the escape of John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincon’s assassin.
From this citadel, the Hite-Bowman family entered the frontier of Kentucky to inform, direct, and protect Frank & Jesse James’ pioneer grandfather John M. James in the wilderness. The keynote speaker is Richard Hite, whose book Sustainable Genealogywe have reviewed and recommended.
Matrilineal Ancestry Key to Choctaw & Chickasaw Descendants of the James Family
Our new and most recent research at Stray Leaves has taken a decided turn towards our James descendants of Choctaw & Chickasaw blood. Recently, we mounted a new searchable genealogy database, devoted to these two lines of unique James descendants.
A key thing to know when learning about the Choctaw and Chickasaw is how they differ fundamentally from our Anglo bloodlines.
In traditional Anglo bloodlines, power, family, and identity flow through the male paternal side of ancestry. Among those of Choctaw & Chickasaw blood, just the opposite is true. These Native-American tribes take their power, family, and identity from their female ancestry.
You can learn more about this matriarchal structure below where you will find a number of links and videos.
A year before the Jesse James family reunion, Judge James R. Ross and myself made a trip to Paso Robles to meet with Tom Martin, then current owner of the Paso Robles Inn. I had visited there in 2000 when the remnant of the old hotel was undergoing preservation and restoration. I was anxious to see what had been done since. Both I and Judge Ross also hoped Tom Martin would agree to host our Jesse James family reunion at the historic hotel, first founded by Drury Woodson James.
Needless to say, the Martins were thrilled to be our host. We were equally thrilled to be holding the family reunion on Uncle Drury’s old hotel property. We were especially excited about having a family banquet in Uncle Drury’s ballroom, which the Martins had preserved and restored. Until Tom Wallace
Until Tom Wallace, who supervised the reconstruction, told us his story of working on the formerly condemned property as he does in this video, the only information I had about it was gleaned from George Jackson. a heating contractor, employed to install a heating plant for the old ruin. I was particularly tickled by Jackson’s story of discovering a petrified cat when he opened up sealed portions of the original brick basement. You can find Jackson’s story on Stray Leaves.
Arriving at Hearst Castle, the Jesse James family at first believed they were simply visiting a local stellar attraction not too far distant from the home of Drury Woodson James. Hearst Castle’s docent regaled the family with the story of William Randolph Hearst’s legendary castle town recreation on a hill overlooking the sparkling blue Pacific Ocean and the area’s local history.
My postscript to the presentation made by the Hearst Castle’s docent in which I revealed the purpose of our visit, surprised even the docent. Since it was such a surprise, I knew I had to bring along the sources from where I had gleaned information that now appeared surprising. After my short presentation, the docent asked about my notes, “Can I see that?”
I have to admit that the first time when I discovered this small morsel of James history that now it so appetizing, I couldn’t be more grateful for all the effort that had been made to learn of it. The new research techniques I had developed in my years of researching the James family’s genealogy have paid off in very big ways, in excess of this little exciting discovery.
Leaving no stone unturned meant that my research not only had to study the James family, but also had to study their in-law families, and additionally to study the social communities among whom they lived. That’s how this small piece of Drury Woodson James’ history came to be found in a research depository I never might have looked in, had I only confined myself to studying the genealogy of the Jesse James family.
From Hearst Castle, we were off to visit the Tobin James Wine Cellars. While there, our host Tobin James told us the story about his bar which he had purchased and its claimed relationship with Jesse Woodson James.
Official website for the family of Frank & Jesse James – Living lives, telling the story. Knowing self.
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