Tag Archives: Somerset

Lowell Gene Roy Has Died

The following obituary appeared in the Commonwealth Journal newspaper of Somerset, Kentucky on June 7, 2011:

Somerset — Lowell Gene Roy was born on June 11, 1938 in the Hickory Nut area of Pulaski County, Ky.  He departed this life on June 2, 2011 reaching the age of 72, after a long illness.

He was united in marriage on October 10, 1959 to Cynthia Schafran, who survives. To this union were born four children, Martina of Dearborn, Mich., Mark of Dearborn Heights, Mich., Mike (and Gerri) of Garden City, Mich., Marlene (and Greg) of Livonia, Mich..

He was the youngest of six children born to Vola T. Roy and Myrtle Spaw Roy, who preceded him in death. He was also preceded in death by two sisters, Marcie Dye and Geneva Spencer, and one brother, Ether Roy. He is survived by one brother, Clair Lee Roy of Melvindale, Mich., and one sister, Rebecca (and Tom) Waddle of Monticello, Ky.

He is also survived by five grandchildren, Ryan, Stefanie, Brandon, Madilyn and Matthew and three great grandchildren, Samantha, Nicholas and Zachary.

He was saved as a young man and was a member of Mt. Lebanon Church in Kentucky. He joined the Army in 1958 and served two years of service to our country.

He worked most of his life as a truck driver, which he greatly enjoyed. His greatest joy was his farm back home, which he visited when he was able. He leaves a multitude of family and friends who will greatly miss him.

Funeral services were held at 9800 S. Telegraph at Howe-Peterson in Taylor with burial to follow on June 6, 2011 at Lakeside Memorial Gardens in Somerset, Ky., on West Ky. 80.



Lowell Gene Roy (1938-2011)
. Vola T. Roy & Myrtle Spaw
.. James P, Rpy & Martha Carter
… Rev. William Madison Roy & Martha Ann Shadowen
…. Samuel Shadowen St. & Sarah James
….. Rev. Joseph Martin James & Martha Betsy McAlister
…… John M. James & Clara Nalle

One of 5 Historic James Homes in Pulaski County, Kentucky

This is one of five historic homes of our James family in Pulaski County, Kentucky. Located at the intersection of Route 80 and James Road, the site is about eight miles east of Somerset, Kentucky.

Unclear is whether this home was built by John M. James (1751-1823), or by his son, Reverend Daniel Field James (1795-1871). I believe it was John. Daniel built his own brick home on Highway 461, north of Dahl Road. John’s previous brick home was built at the bend in Dahl Road, circa 1795. This second home was more opulent in its construction with arched windows and doorways, and much larger in size than John’s first home.

This home definitely was occupied by two of John’s daughters and their husbands. John’s third eldest daughter, Betsy, lived here with her husband, Reverend Jeremiah Vardeman. After she eloped with Jerry, John brought the un-godlike Jerry into Baptist ministry. Jerry went on to become an eminent Baptist Divine. Jeremiah Vardeman founded the schools of Theology at Georgetown College in Kentucky, and at William Jewell College in Missouri. He also gave Frank and Jesse’s father, Reverend Robert Sallee James, $20,000 to become a William Jewell College founder, after Robert graduated Georgetown.

Record books today identify this tract as “The Vardeman Tract.” Jerry’s enslaved were buried in a cemetery on this site. Jerry also had a still in the knob behind the cemetery meadow. John’s eldest daughter, Molly, subsequently occupied this home with Senator Jack Griffin Sr.

The home then was occupied by Will James, John’s grandson and a son of Daniel Field James, with his wife Nancy R. Gilliland. Will, it is said, got shot up riding with Frank and Jesse. Will returned to this home partially crippled. The estate sits in clear view of James cemetery, on the knob diagonally across Route 80 at the end of James Road.

It was Jack Griffin’s son, Senator Jack Griffin Jr., who accidentally burned down the house. This photo shows the markings of the fire that consumed the second story bedroom level.

Today, all the bricks are gone. The leveled site is planned as an interchange for the extension of historic Route 66. A gravel pit consumed the former slave cemetery onsite. The Commonwealth of Kentucky avoiding any necessary cemetery mitigation for the enslaved. The Commonwealth also determined the home itself not to be worthy of an archeological excavation. Soon the site will become a road interchange, unless the present delay in construction, caused by the collapse of the national economy, persists anbd national transportation funds are withheld.

We pray to John, Jerry, Daniel, Will, to all their wives, and to all their enslaved, that the history of Route 66 never paves over the history of our James family.

Charles Columbus Whitaker III has died

Charles Columbus Whitaker
Charles Columbus Whitaker III, 1932-2010. Great grandson of Susan Harriet James 1843-1920 & Allen Custer Herrin 1838-1908

Charles Columbus Whitaker Jr., 77, of Ferguson, Ky., departed this life on Wednesday, March 17, 2010, at the Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital.

He was born on Oct. 11, 1932, in the Shopville community of Pulaski County, Ky., the son of Lum and Alma Herrin Whitaker. He was a U.S. Air Force veteran of the Korean War and a graduate of Shopville High School Class of 1952. Mr. Whitaker was a retired distributor for Southern Belle Dairy and a member of St. Mildred’s Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus. He enjoyed golfing, fishing, sports, UK basketball, and the Cincinnati Reds.

Mr. Whitaker is survived by his wife, Wilda Higginbotham Whitaker. She married him on June 24, 1956, in New Iberia, La. Other survivors are a son, Church (and Tammy) Whitaker of Summerville, SC; four daughters, Patty (and Eddie) Casada of Science Hill, Ky., Charlotte (and Mike) Day of Somerset, Ky., Pam Schnetter of Ferguson, and Jenny (and Jeff) Bullock of Nancy, Ky.; two brothers, Clell (and Gladys) Whitaker of Somerset and Gene (and Sue) Whitaker of Somerset; 10 grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren.

Preceding him in death were his parents; a brother, Edwin Whitaker; and two sons-in-law, Barry Crow, and Jerry Pennington.

Visitation will be Monday, March 22, at six p.m. at St. Mildred’s Catholic Church in Somerset and then on Tuesday, March 23, at ten a.m. at the church until time of service.

Funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 23, at St. Mildred’s Catholic Church with Father Michael Ramler officiating.

Graveside service will be Wednesday, March 24, at 11 a.m. at Mill Springs National Cemetery in Nancy.

The American Legion Post #38 Honor Guard will conduct military honors.

Arrangements for Charles Columbus Whitaker Jr. are entrusted to Lake Cumberland Funeral Home.

The family requests expressions of sympathy be made to the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, P.O. Box 50, Memphis, Tenn., 38101, and/or AIM Pregnancy Center, P.O. Box 1523, Somerset, Ky., 42502.

Commonwealth Journal, Somerset, Pulaski County, Kentucky

March 22, 2010

Susan Harriet James

First Baptist Church of Somerset, Ky., formerly Sinking Creek

Sinking Creek Church Congregation

Gwen Smith Gershwin has contributed the photo archive of Sheridan Owens to the James Preservation Trust. Gwen is a 3rd great-granddaughter of Rev. Joseph Martin James & Rhoda May, through their daughter Mary Harriet James & her husband Daniel J. Owens. Sheridan Owens, born in 1883, was the last of ten children born to Mary Harriet James.

Help is needed in identifying people in this image. This is believed to be the congregation of the First Baptist Church, pictured at Sinking Creek in Somerset, Ky. sometime after 1900. The church was organized in 1799, five months after Flat Lick Baptist Church was established. The Sinking Creek Church, as it was first called, was served by Revs. Joseph Martin James, Thomas Hansford, Steven Collier, & Martin Owens. In years to follow, the church was served by Revs. Daniel Buckner, John James, John M. Sallee, Thomas H. Coleman, William S. Taylor, Reuben Shadoan, Green Clay Smith, John R. James, & Virgil Maxey, among others.

Henry F. Buckner, a son of Daniel Buckner, went to Texas around 1848, and later welcomed Cyrenius Waite James, and his son John James of Alvarado, to Texas, where John James taught and preached to the Choctaw. Revs. John R. James, who graduated Georgetown College with Frank James’ father, Rev. Robert Sallee James, later pastored the Baptist church in Paris, Lamar County, Texas, founded by famed Texas Ranger James Shelby “Sheb” Williams and his family. At the same time, Frank James lived in his retirement in Paris, working at the Williams family dry goods store. Rev. Virgil Maxey of the First Baptist Church of Somerset succeeded Rev. John R. James in Paris, Texas. The Maxey family of Kentucky had married into the Williams family in Texas.

Mary Harriet James, a spouse Daniel J. Owens, are pictured right of the center tree at the top. Their son William Owens, with spouse Centenial Williams & their children, appear on the opposite side of the tree, second row from the top. Leaning against the tree at the far left is presumed to be another son of Daniel J. and Mary Harriet James Owens. Standing in the creek well, used for baptisms, are presumed to be the pastor and elders of the church.

Any help with identifying others pictured in this image is greatly appreciated.