Sunday, November 24, 2013

Appalachian Vernacular….it’s just a fancy way to say Mountain Talk

       I have always found language fascinating. Actually, it is the English language and its many variations that I find fascinating. Looking at local dialects, I believe, give us a glimpse of our ancestors and maybe even clues as to where our ancestors immigrated from long ago. A lot of the language I grew up with has roots in Scotland and Ireland. This makes perfect sense to me because many of the first settlers in Appalachia were from Great Britain and Ireland.  Some of my ancestors were among the first pioneers into what is now West Virginia so my family has lived in those beautiful Mountains since the mid 1700's. Needless to say that my WV roots run very, very deep! While I was growing up in West Virginia I was not always aware of the fact that the way people in my part of the world talk is a bit different. Our ‘vernacular’ is unique. I knew that I didn't have the ‘typical’ southern accent but I knew that I sure did have something. 

        I first became truly aware of the way I spoke when I went away to college for the first time.  Fairmont State is in WV and only about 3 hours north of home but boy-o-boy did I stand out! Many students were from northern WV or out of state and to them I may as well have been speaking a foreign language! I was forever being asked to ‘say this’ or ‘say that’.  Not only was my pronunciation of words different but sometimes the words I used were completely different and, at times, needed an explanation. In my very first college class, English 102, we were given a cultural crossword puzzle. Much to my surprise I was the only one in the class that knew a four letter word, other than sack, for bag. I was teased endlessly during freshman orientation about my ‘accent’ but it all seemed to make since after that English class and the professor’s lecture about dialects and the English language. So, I guess you could say that my fascination with dialects began during my freshman year of college.

Poke: a bag or sack

  • I can hear my Granddaddy now, “Go fetch me some potaters….put ‘em in this here poke.” 
  • My brother used to live near a convenience store called The Poke-N-Tote. It was in Summersville,WV…not sure if it is still exsists.
  • “Pig in a poke” or “Don’t buy a pig in a poke” can be traced back to the mid 1500’s in Great Britain and is still used in Scotland today. (

Location, location, location

           I grew up in Cross Lanes, WV just outside of Charleston. Well, not Cross Lanes proper more like Tyler Heights or Tyler Mountain. My grandparents and great grandparents lived next door and my dad’s brothers lived out back. My mom’s family was also close by so I knew most of my aunts, uncles and a fair number of my cousins. ‘Mountain Talk’ is much more than simply how words are pronounced. People where I grew up are very ‘colorful’ speakers.  When I read about ‘Mountain Talk’ I can almost hear my grandparents’ voices. This is how they talked. Looking back I am quite sure that when I went off to Fairmont State some 25+ years ago I too spoke with the same accent and dialect. Some aspects of how I talk cannot be changed and really why should it? 

What does dialect have to do with Genealogy?

       Well, not a lot when it comes to actual research but I have found occasions where it has been helpful to understand how words are pronounced.  For example I was a bit surprised that my Granddaddy’s sister, Evy, was actually Eva. I had never seen her name written and everyone called her Evy. I guess I grew up with the ‘a’ sound often being replaced with an ‘i’ or ‘y’ but never gave it a thought. I can remember being called ‘Leny’ (Leenie). Many records, census records in particular, are often written phonetically so understanding the Appalachian pronunciations may come in handy. One humorous example is how I found a name written in a census. The name was written ‘Varginny’ or something similar. I knew immediately that the lady’s name had to be Virginia. 

I am by no means an expert but I listed a few examples of what I consider 'Mountain Talk'

 Appalachian homophones:

      • Pin/Pen
      • Fail/Fell
      • Color/Collar/Caller
      • Feel/Fill
      • Picture/Pitcher
Word alterations: 

 Ending words with the letter ‘t’ sound

o   twice = twicet
o   across = acrosst
o   once = oncet

 Changing the ‘o’ sound to ‘er’

o   hollow = holler
o   potato/tomato – po-taters/to-maters
o   fellow = feller
o   yellow = yeller

Changing the ‘a’ sound to an ‘e’ or ‘y’ sounds

o   Monday, Tuesday…= Mondy, Tuesdy…
o   Lena = Leenie
o   Idea = idie (I-D)

 ‘Ire’ sometimes sounds like ‘ar’

o   tire – tar
o   fire – far

Random Words:

o   What most people call a ‘vacuum cleaner’ I call a ‘sweeper’
o   I say ‘buggy’ not ‘cart’
o   Awful/awfully – Her cake was awfully good. We had an awful good time last night.
o   Big-feelin’ – He is awful big-feelin’.
o   Highfalutin – Well, look at you hangin’ out with your highfalutin friends.
o   Lawsy – Well, lawsy me ain’t you something to see!
o   Might could, used to could (I didn’t know this was part of the dialect until very recently!) Can I do a cartwheel? Well, that’s doubtful but I used to could.
o   Directly – You go one ahead…I’ll be along directly (der-eck-ly)
o   Book-smart – He got that highfalutin education and might be book-smart … but he aint got enough sense to come in from the rain.
o   Yonder – He lives just over yonder.
o   Fetch – Fetch me some of them there potaters.
o   Carry – Carry that poke of beans to your mama.
o   Reckon - I could go on and on with this post but reckon I should save something for later!

One of the things I miss most is the descriptive language and sayings that are so common back home. Folks around here just aren’t as colorful in their use of language. So, I’ll end my long and rambling post with a few of my... 

Favorite Sayings:

  • You look like you’ve been rode hard and put up wet
  • He’s wound up tighter than a banjo string
  • I’m madder than an ole we hen 
  • He’s a ne’er do well…. Ain’t got a pot to piss in nor a window to throw it out of 
  • That man/road is crookeder than a dog’s hind leg 
  • Well…if that ain’t the pot calling the kettle black! 
  • Say that again and I’ll smack you plum into next week 
  • It is hotter than blue blazes (sometimes it is colder than blue blazes) 
  • Bless her heart…she ain’t big as a minute! 
  • Bless his heart…he’s so ugly he’s cute 
  • Bless its heart…it don’t know no better 
  • She is purdy as a picture

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Not Your Mother’s DAR….or is it?

What a busy few days I have had! Mom and Dad stopped by to visit us on their way after spending a week in Colorado with my brother and his family. We had a nice visit catching up on what is new with the family and the ‘who is doing what’ news from back home. I managed to sneak in a few little tidbits about family history and this time I think I actually saw a little ‘spark’ of interest! I did, however, push it a bit far….their eyes began to glaze over when I started talking about Mom’s ‘2nd cousin 3x removed’ being Morris Harvey, great grandson of James Jarrett. I find this little tidbit of information exciting news but, alas, I had gone too far and lost them. I tried to reel them back in with more info but to no avail… I’d lost them. For those who may not know, the University of Charleston used to be called ‘Morris Harvey’ after the man (Mom’s 2nd cousin 3x removed) who donated a ton of money to the college. Many people around Charleston still refer to UC as Morris Harvey.

Brief History of the University of Charleston

UC was founded in 1888 by the Southern Methodist church in Barboursville, WV and named Barboursville Seminary. In 1901 the name was changed to Morris Harvey College in honor of a ‘prominent donor’.  The college relocated to Charleston sometime during the Great Depression to take advantage of the larger city. When the Methodist church North and South merged Morris Harvey disaffiliated itself from the church and became independent in 1942. Construction began on the current location along the Kanawha River in 1947 to accommodate the growth of the college. December 13, 1979 the name of the college was changed from Morris Harvey to the University of Charleston.

Pictures of Morris and Rosa Harvey can be found on the UC website.

Seems I have once again wondered a bit off topic! 

So, as I was saying.... 
We had a nice time catching up and then on Saturday I took Mom along with me to my DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) meeting. We had a nice afternoon and the best part…she wants to become a member, YEAH!  I’m pretty excited. Even though Mom lives in WV she can join the Nathan Edison chapter in KS. As Mom put it, “I’m not much of a joiner” so joining a chapter 16 hours away gives her an excuse not to attend all the meetings, haha, that's my mom! I know that the DAR has a reputation of being highfalutin and only for the snooty and big-feeling. That may have been true in the past but it is not true today. We do not wear white gloves and hats to meetings. We do not sip tea and eat little sandwiches!  We are not your mother’s DAR!

My Known Patriots:

Patrick Board (my DAR Patriot)
James McDade
Samuel Rae (Ray)
Bland Ballard
Henry Flesher
Abednego Hodges
Edward Richards


Thursday, October 24, 2013

More British than a Brit...

The results are in...

I was so excited to find out that recently updated my DNA results! No real surprises… my DNA is 100% European and almost all of my DNA matches the Great Britain area. In fact I have a higher percentage of DNA traced to Great Britain than the typical person born in Great Britain!  According to the information on most people native to Great Britain has between 41%-100% of their DNA matching the region. The typical native has about 60%. My DNA, on the other hand, is 86% with a range of 65%-100% of my DNA matching. If you need a refresher, Great Britain is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.


 Before I go further, let me explain how the DNA results are reached…. determines what region the DNA matches by comparing the customer’s DNA to the to the ‘AncestryDNA reference panel’. This ‘panel’ consists of 3,000 DNA samples from 26 global regions. Before becoming part of the ‘panel’ the individual’s genealogy was extensively researched and documented to prove that their family is native to the region and has lived there for hundreds of years.  To determine the region matches, a separate analysis is done with 40 randomly selected portions of the DNA. Each of the 40 analyses gives an independent estimate of ethnicity. These 40 results are then averaged. So… for my Great Britain results the 40 estimates ranged from 65%-100% match with the average of the 40 being 89%. Got it? 

The next highest percentage of DNA match is to European West 

This region is made up mostly of Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxemburg and Liechtenstein. But also found in other regions including England. I know I have ancestors from this region so it fits with my research. Both my Westfall and Flesher lines have been traced to this region. Some say James Jarrett was from France and my 6th great grandmother, a Gagnet, was most like from France. By the way, I asked the French teacher at my school about this name…. not pronounced ‘gag-net’ haha. More like ‘gan-yeah’ much nicer, huh?

To round things out I have small amounts of DNA from other regions:

  • 2% Ireland (range of 0%-10%)
  • 2% Scandinavia (range of 0%-9%)
  • <1% Iberian Peninsula (range of 0%-5%) 

Ireland and Scandinavia fit into my research. The Iberian Peninsula, which is primarily found in Spain and Portugal, is a mystery to me. DNA in this area may also be found in France, Morocco, Algeria and Italy. Hmmm. I know that there is a large concentration of Castos in parts of Italy. There is also a legend that the first Castos in this country were from Spain. Other than Casto I have no clue as to where this little bit of DNA came from! Intriguing to say the least!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My family lived at the Lunatic Asylum!

Halloween is just around the corner so what better time to take another look at my Flesher family! What’s the connection you ask? Well, one of the ‘most haunted places in America ‘sits on land that was once owned by my 6th great-grandfather. The Trans-Alleghany Lunatic Asylum in Weston, WV was built in the early 1860’s on what was once Henry Flesher’s farm. (So, the title was  a bit misleading) The present day Lewis County Courthouse was built on the ‘threshing floor’ of his barn. Henry owned many acres in what is now Lewis County. Henry was one of the first white settlers in the area where he and his wife, Elizabeth Bush, raised 10 children. I descend through his daughter Anna and her 2nd husband Charles Parsons. I have some ‘dirt’ on Anna but that’s for another post!  

The town of Weston was first named Preston then briefly named ‘Flesherville’ but the family didn’t care for that so the name was changed to Weston. No one really knows where the name Weston came from but it was NOT Henry’s middle name. Prior to being Weston the area was Augusta County, Harrison County and finally Lewis County. Some have said that it would not be incorrect to compare Henry Flesher to Daniel Boone. He was just as tough and rugged as the more well know pioneer. I can’t imagine what West Virginia was like in the 1700’s! History tells us that it was not a safe place that is for sure! Indian attacks were quite common through the 1700’s and Henry Flesher has been credited with the last Indian killing in the area. Henry himself was attacked and almost killed by an Indian while returning to his cabin after working in his fields. The following is from “A History of Lewis County, West Virginia” written by Edward Conrad Smith and published in 1920.

Stone Coal Creek
The first attack following the close of the Revolution took place on the spot destined in later years to be chosen as the seat of government of the county. About the middle of October, 1784, assisted by Paulser Butcher, then a mere youth, but later one of the largest landholders in the county, Henry Flesher had been engaged in hauling logs for a stable to be built near where the Baptist church now stands. Flesher went to his house to get a bell to put on his horse preparing to turn him out to graze in woods. When he reached the ravine which came down the hill about where Bank Street now is he was fired upon by an Indian lying in wait. The ball passed through his arm, and he immediately started to run to his cabin. The savage ran after him and almost succeeded in overtaking him at his own door. In attempting to kill him before he entered the house the Indian, using his gun as a club, brought it down against the logs of the house with such force that the stock was shattered. Mrs. Flesher succeeded in pulling her husband into the house, and then scared the Indian away by calling- upon the other men in the house to fire. The family spent the night in the woods, fearing a renewal of the assault. There is a tradition that Mrs. Flesher carried her husband into a thicket near the house and spent the night under the widespread limbs of a sycamore which stood at the mouth of Stone Coal creek. The next morning she met John Schoolcraft, who summoned help from West's fort. Another account states that a young woman of the family reached Hacker's creek the next morning and that the remainder of the family were guided into West's fort by Edward Hughes. The Flesher family and young Butcher remained at West's fort until the near approach of winter made it unlikely that any savages were in the vicinity, when they returned to their home.

Henry Flesher’s name is found no less than 65 times in the book and anyone interested in reading more can find the book online for free at: 


I also transcribed Henry’s will today 

(I can spell.... just transcribed what I saw!)

Henry Flesher

  In the Name of God amen I Henry Flesher Sen of Harrison County and State of Virginia am of perfect mind and Memory thanks be given unto God Caling to Mind the mortality of my Body and Knowing that it is appointed for all men once to Die Do make & ordain this my Last will and Testament that is to say princepally and first of all I give and recommend my Soul unto the hand of almighty God that it and my body to be buried in a Decent Christian burial and as Souching Such worldly Estate. I give and bequeath to Elizabeth my wife her bed & ___ furniture that belongs to __bed- Andrew [smudge] & [smudge] Peter my three sons the House Each the Share [smudge] My son Henry is to have the Plantation Whereon [smudge] I Now Live Beginning at the upper corner Tree Then [smudge] urning over the river to Peter Flesher cornor then with the Meanders of the river to the mouth of Stone Coal creak then up sd Creek with the Meanders thereof to the upor End of apopla bottom to a small D___ and up the Same to the Line & to my Son John I give the Tract of Land on poke creek Lying between Peter Flesher Line and John P Dwallading thereto Sixty Dollars in Cash out of my movable &to my Son William I give the Land Lying on the Lower Side of Stone Coal Creek ___ the Line runs Joining Land with Charles Parsons ading thereto __him fifty Dollars and the old Sond mares coalts to my Grandson David Sleth I give to Him the Bull Mares Coalt and as for all the remainder of my Estate Shall be Sold at Publick Sale and Eighteen monthly Credit given and then my wife Elizabeth to have her ____ of the money when my Debts is Paid and the Balances to be Divided equal amongst my four Daughters Ann Elizabeth Mary and Susannah but as for my Son Henry Shall pay to John and William Each Eighty Dollars in hand for their part of the old Plantation as Soon as they become the age of twenty one years but as for William he shall be Bound for for traid at the age of the age of Seventeen and I also appoint___ my Sons Adam and Henry Flesher as my Executors & administrators there shall also be no due __ three pounds out of my Daughter Susannahs Share for the Land She now Lives on ___ Creek & I Do hereby utterly revoke and Disannull all and any other fomer will and Testament in any wise before Named ___ Witness whereof I have here unto Left my Hand and Seal this Twenty Sixth Day of November One thousand and eight hundred and two
Signed Sealed & Delivered by the said Henry Flesher Sen S__is his Last Will and Testament

The words Henry Flesher is wrote in German (not my comment this is stated in the actual will)
In the presences of
Paul Butcher, John Law

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pruning the Pendells!

          It has been a while since I added anything new to my little blog…. But that doesn't necessarily mean that I haven’t been doing a little research! I have been trying to stay focused on one line but that is not easy, not for me! So… I've started to meander off the Carnes line just a bit and found myself somewhere among the Pendell branches! Arthur Carnes married Harriet Pendell… so it was a logical jump over to the Pendell branch! This particular branch I haven’t worked with much and a lot of my information is either not sourced or sourced by someone else’s tree, something that I haven’t done in a very long time. This part of my tree needs pruning and cleaning up and I decided that now’s the time! This part of my tree is embarrassing to say the least! While looking for documentation to prove what I have in my tree I have come across some interesting information that I think is worth posting.

            I’m always looking for more Revolutionary War Patriot ancestors and I think I have found a Pendall. Elisha Pendell is my 5th Great-Grandfather and I believe he was a Patriot. He may not have fought, haven’t found proof of that just yet, but he did declare his loyalty to the United Colonies. Along with Elisha Pendell there are also two men with the last name of Boynton. Elisha’s wife’s maiden name was Boynton so it is quite possible that one of the men may have been her father, brother or both. 

I have only included the section of names from Gilsum, New Hampshire but the book is free on Goggle Books. Google Books is one awesome resource!!!

~ Page 1 ~

Colony of New Hampshire

April 12th, 1776

In Order to carry the underwritten RESOLVE of the Hon’b1e Continental CONGRESS into Execution, You are requested to desire all Males above Twenty One Years of Age (Lunaticks, Idiots, and Negroes excepted) to sign to the DECLARATION on this Paper; and when so done, to make Return hereof, together with the Name or Names of all who shall refuse to sign the same, to the GENERAL-ASSEM BLY, or Committee of Safety of this Colony.
 M. Weare, Chairman.

In CONGRESS, March 14th, 1776

 Resolved, That it be recommended to the several Assemblies, Conventions, and Councils, or Committees of Safety of the United Colonies, immediately to cause all Persons to be disarmed, within their Respective Colonies, who are notoriously disaflected to the Cause of AMERICA, Or who have not associated, and refuse to associate, to defend by ARMS, the United Colonies, against the Hostile Attempts of the British Fleets and Armies.

 Extract from the Minutes
Charles Thompson, Sec’ry.

In Consequence of the above Resolution, of the Hon. Continental CONGRESS, and to shew our Determination in joining our American Brethren, in defending the Lives, Liberties, and Properties of the Inhabitants of the UNITED COLONIES

             WE, the Subscribers, do hereby solemnly engage, and promise, that we will, to the utmost of our Power, at the Risque of our Lives and Fortunes, with ARMS, oppose the Hostile Proceedings of the British Fleets, and Armies, against the United American COLONIES.


Ebenezer Dewey
Pelatiah Pease
Gershom Crocker
Ebenezer Kilbarn
Josiah Kilburn Jr
Jonathan Adams
Henry White
Stephen Bond
David Bill
Elisha Mack
Levi Bliss
Abner Bliss
Jonathan Bliss Jr
Joel Kilbourn
Ebezer Willcox
John Marks
James Rowe
John Boynton
John Dimick Juner
Timothy Dimock
John Row juner
Justus Hurd
Ebenezer Dewey Jr
Josiah Kilburn
Tho morse
Ebenezer Church
Ichabod youngs
Shubael Hurd
Joseph Youngs
Stephen Bond Jr
Obadiah Smith
Jonathan Bliss
David Bliss
Ebenezar Bill
Obadiah Willcox juner
John Chapman
Stephen Griswold
Elisha Pendell
John Boynton Jun
John Dimeck
John Row
Obadiah Willcox

           This may Certifey that the Names Annexed to this paper are all the inhabitants of the Town of Gilsum that Come within the Limits of this Request Test

                                                     Eben’r Dewey Jr
                                                                        Pelatiah Pease
of Gilsum


                  I also found some info in another book stating that Elisha Pendell was a Selectman. In New England the executive branch of the government is the Board of Selectmen. There were usually 3-5 members and according to these records, Elisha would have been one of the members in Gilsum, NH in 1779.

 Then the above named Capt. John Griggs Elisha Pendel and Ebenezer Church Select men of the town of Gilsum for the year 1779 personally appeared and made Sollum oath that the above account is true and justly charged
                                                                           Before me Isaac Wyman Just peace    
                                                                                                                     pg. 662

Friday, September 6, 2013

Taking another look at the Taylors

Well, back to school time came early this year. Teachers returned on August 8th!!! Way too early and it has been obvious around the school house. No one was ready to return and I think we are just now realizing that school is in session and things are getting back on track! Anyway…. Once again my job is getting in the way of family history time!

My copy of “Jackson County Past and Present” finally arrived in the mail a week or so ago. I had placed my order back in late May or early June so I had just about given up hope until... surprise! ... Dave found it waiting on the porch one afternoon! Flipping through the pages rekindled my interest in my Jackson County WV roots, namely my Taylor family line. Tracing my Taylors is much like tracing a ‘Smith’ or ‘Brown’….  

My Granddaddy Taylor’s family is ‘stalled’ with Thomas Taylor b. abt 1793 in VA and died in 1866 in Saltville VA. I descend through his son Charles W. >>> William James >>> Omer Martin >>>Donald Lee >>> then me. I have proof of the line through Charles W but the fact that Charles’s father was Thomas Ewing Taylor was acquired from a distant cousin. I seem to be spinning my wheels as far as this line goes so I decided it was time to take the advice of every experienced genealogist, “start with what you know and gather every bit of information you can before moving on to the next generation” So… it is time for me to go back and fill in all the gaps starting with Granddaddy’s siblings and then his aunts and uncles.

My first objective is to answer two burning questions:
1. What happened to Franklin Taylor (paternal great grand uncle)?
2. Who the heck is Andrew Taylor (appears to be a paternal grand uncle)?

This past week I've been filling in some blanks in Granddaddy’s family. He was the baby of 15 and I didn’t have birth/death dates for all or I didn’t have documentation proving the dates that I had. Grandmother Taylor wrote out birthdates for all of Granddaddy’s siblings (The woman had one heck of a memory!).

Children of William J. and Lucinda Westfall Taylor’s children:

Amanda Jane
11 May 1876
Roane, WV
5 Mar 1925
Longacre, Fayette, WV
(visiting brother ‘Ned’)
Luther Melancthon Hatcher
Jackson ,WV
23 March 1878
Roane,, WV
2 Feb 1969
Charleston, Kanawha, WV
Rachel Minerva Cobb
14 Nov 1897
Roane, WV
27 Apr 1879
Roane,, WV
16 Jan 1939
Belgrove, Jackson, WV
Mary Carpenter
18 Dec 1898
Roane, WV
4 July 1880
Roane, WV
6 Aug 1956
Kanawha, WV
Icie Carpenter
13 May 1906
Roane, WV
4 Feb 1883
Jackson, WV
4 Jan 1969
Charleston, Kanawha, WV
William Alonzo Doughty
17 Nov 1909
Jackson, WV
Mary E Taylor
Dec 1884
Jackson WV

Francis Marion
3 Feb 1886
Jackson, WV
14 Jun 1980
Orlando, Orange, FL
Beulah Dallas Fields
25 Sept 1910
Roane, WV
Henry Clay
10 May 1889
Jackson, WV
6 Oct 1964
Kanawha, WV
Ada Whited
29 Nov 1914
Jackson, WV
Cora Ann
18 Oct 1890
Jackson, WV
22 Mar 1970
Charleston, Kanawha, WV
Holly Azetta Cobb
22 Oct 1911
Jackson, WV
John Perry
30 Dec 1894
Jackson, WV
17 Jan 1972
Charleston, Kanawha, WV
Carrie Carpenter
10 Aug 1913
Jackson, WV
Icie Ivy
1 May 1896
Jackson, WV
6 Sept 1982
Charleston, Kanawha, WV

Orlie Annis
10 Aug 1897
Belgrove, Jackson, WV
25 Mar 1987
Charleston, Kanawha, WV
Benjamin Coy Cobb
28 Feb 1918
Jackson, WV
Corda Elva
19 Feb 1899
Belgrove, Jackson, WV
4 Sept 1994
Deltona, Volusia, FL
Mark Whited
4 Mar 1902
25 Jun 1989

Omer Martin
20 Sept 1904
Belgrove, Jackson, WV
21 Dec 1994
Charleston, Kanawha, WV
Reva Opal Cobb
11 Aug 1926
Charleston, Kanawha, WV