This is an attempt to recover all the information that was lost when Hotmail deleted all my old messages for no reasons and crosswinds.net accidently deleted my geneaology pages, which occured May, 2000. All the information I still have is from research conducted by myself in Kentucky, that I collected from my parents and grandparents, and that I recall from my online research, which took place in 1999 and early 2000.
I'm going to write down the history that I remember. William Russell, Sr. was either born in Europe or Virginia. The area of Virginia in which he lived was absolutely full of people named William Russell, so it's impossible to tell who his parents are, or to tell one William from another, except by the names of their wifes and mothers, as well as their marriage, death, and birth dates. MY William Russell, Sr. was born in 1688, and married Mary Henley, who was born in 1692. They were married in Culpeper County, Virginia. They had many children, including a son, William Russell, Jr., who married Anne in 1738. Anne's maiden name may have been Buckner, as one of their sons was named that, but some say her name was Lundy. Time will tell, if any documents exist that will tell us anything. One of their sons was Absolom Russell. When I came across the name Absolom, I thought, "Finally! A name unusual enough that there won't be any duplicates!" I was mistaken, because in this area of Virginia there were not one but four Absolom Russels. This Absolom was born in 1760. He married Elizabeth Gains, who was the daughter of Rev. Gains, whose first name I don't have. On February 14, 1795, they had a son named Bird, Byrd, Birdie, or Byrdie Russell. My grandmother said there was a Byrdie or Birdie Russell cemetary in the area she grew up, so I know that if his name was Bird or Byrd, the other was his nickname. Byrd, or whatever his name was, was born in Virginia. The family then moved to Casey County, Kentucky, although I don't know what year. At some point, Elizabeth died and Absolom remarried her sister, Frances. I don't know if this was in Virginia or Kentucky, and I don't know if Absolom ever lived in Kentucky, but he died in 1890. Absolom and Elizabeth were married in Halifax County, Virginia, and it appears they were married in 1793, but I can barely read my own writing. It says "230 ct 1793" and right undere that "Halifax County." I write this in early 1999 so it's hard to remember what I meant. Apparently, Frances Gains died in 1840 in Casey County, so that means Absolom must have died there, too. It says in my notebook that there were several "Casey County, Kentucky brothers." Apparently, these were Ephraim, Philip, Bird(ie)/Byrd(ie), George (b. 1796), Lucretia (that doesn't sound like a brother to me!) whe married a man named Cresey, apparently. Nancy/Jincy Jane, Mary, Polly, and Elizabeth, who was called Rosey. There is a book entitled, "William Russell and his descendants," which I've never seen but I've spoken to people who have seen it. It is in an archive in Indianapolis.
Now we get to another fun part of my geneaology. I have no idea where the documents for these people are, but I suspect they are at my mother's house. Bird had a sister named Nancy Jane Russell, and Nancy Jane married Richard Luttrell, Jr. Bird named one of his daughters after his sister, and her name, therefore, was also Nancy Jane Russell. Bird's daughter nancy Jane married Richard R. Luttrell. This is the biggest chaotic mess you can imagine, next to the twenty-some William Russells in Culpepper County, Virginia. Richard R. went by R.R. and the other went by Richard, Jr. It's a huge mess, because often in the records it only says, "Richard and Nancy Luttrell," or something like that, so you have to look at children's names, wedding, birth, and death dates, as well as parents names to figure out who is who. I am descended from Nancy Jane the daughter of Bird and her husband, R.R. Luttrell. I unfortunately don't have any dates for these people with me. And at this point, I have information on different lines of the family, so this may get a little bit chaotic.
Richard R. and Nancy Jane had several children, one of whom was James Matthew Luttrell. He went by "Matt," and "Matt" is carved on his headstone, although he signed legal documents, "J. Matthew." This seems to run in my family, as my uncle Steve signs documents, "J. Steven Brown." It was my grandmother who suggested my uncle do this, and it was totally spontaneous. She always thought Matt's name was Matt, which caused us to think a woman named Kezra Polston was our Native American ancestor, rather than Dethis.
But, tangents aside, Matt married Elizabeth B. Meeks, who went by the name Betty or Betsy. Her parents were James Meeks, son of John Meeks, and Dethis. We suspect that Dethis is out Cherokee ancestor, though we have absolutely no proof of this. We were let down to find that Kezra was not out Cherokee ancestor, especially because she was listed in the Eastern Band of Cherokee official roster during that time period. We were let down a bit, also, when we found a woman who didn't appear to be Cherokee in her place in our family tree. Further complicating the issue was that Kezra's husband's name was Matthew, and he had a brother, William, who married Kezra's sister Nanny. It was a perfect story, but it wasn't true. The dates didn't line up correctly. My mother got ahold of my great grandfather's death certificate, and under mother's name it said Betty Minks. "Oh, I get it, not Minks--Meeks!" I suddenly understood. Our Native American ancestry was at least one generation further back than we had though. I had grown up being told that, "Your grandma's grandma was a Cherokee Indian." Now it was pushed back a generation, to Elizabeth's mother, Dethis. We know almost nothing about Dethis. On the 1860 censis, she is 40 years old, married to a 36-year-old J. Matthew, with five children: Louisa S. Meeks, 16 Elizabeth B. Meeks, 14, Martha A. Meeks, 12, Joseph Meeks, 6 Allen B.C. Meeks, 3. Allen's actual middle initial was C. Betty and MaTt were married July 22, 1870. Their children were Zachariah T., Jessie D., James F., and Henry Jefferson. The last census when Betty was alive, Henry was 2 years old. No one knows exactly what happened to her. She fell off the roof of the house. Whether she jumped off, was up there trying to put out a fire on the roof of to get one of the kids down, no one knows. Mastt remarried Rachel Roy, and they had several children, the first of which was named Ruth, whose married name was Childers. I don't remember anything else about them.
I think Henry Luttrell married Luvinia Green in 1916, but I could be wrong. Her parents were Jonny Green and Fannie Furman. Luvinia went by the name, "Viney," which is pronounced like a descriptive word you might use to describe a house covered in vines, as opposed to a nickname for Vincent, which would be spelled the same way. She went by Viney or Lou Viney. Luvinia's parents divorced shortly after she was born. There was only one photograph taken of the three of them together. Luvinia's mother remarried a man whose name I believe was Samuel Morgan. There was some problem between Luvinia and her stepfather, I'm not sure what it was. I think they just didn't get along well. Luvinia was very fond of her father. She wanted to get out of the house, so when Henry asked, she agreed to marry him. Many in my family think that Jonny, as well as Luvinia, were manic-depressive/bipolar. Jonny wouldn't want to do any work for a long time, but then he'd want to go out riding his horse and dressed up. Luvinia always said she was too sick to do anything, but then sometimes she would go out with friends and be just fine. It sounds like a form of manic depression in which the person never gets manic, but goes from severe depression to normal states of mind, which if I'm not mistaken is called cyclothymetic depression.
Fannie Furman's parents were Joe Furman and Charity Estridge. Charity was an avid gardener, and gave my grandmother seeds for tomatoes and potato plants unlike any I've seen before. We suspect that the tomato variety is the "pink lady tomato," but the sweet potatoes are unlike anything else. They're not yams, nor are they sweet potatoes. They're perhaps a cross between them or something. They're white like an Irish potato, but shaped like a sweet potato, and unlike anything else. I can't possibly describe them. My grandma said she had very big feet and had to wear men's shoes. I guess that's where I get my big feet!
Henry was very much an Indian, they say. He spent much of his time in the woods. Some Indians still lived in the area, and he got along with them very well. Luvinia wasn't too pleased about this. He wasn't a farmer, he was a nomad with sedentary wife and children he liked to visit. Perhaps his wanderings were partly because of his grief. Henry and Luvinia watched four or five babies die. One lived to be almost two, another lived only a day and a half. I don't have all their names with me, but I know one was Stanley and one was Emily. They had two children that survived infancy, Eulah Evelyn, born in 1923 on October 31, and Edna, who stepped on a rusty nail at age nine, got tetnus, developed lockjaw, and died. This sort of sent Luvinia over the edge. Eulah's eyes weren't quite centered, so Luvinia never allowed herself to get attached to her, thinking she would probably died like the others. Luvinia disappeared, and no one heard from her for years.
When Luvinia came back, she had remarried a man with the surname Davenport. Eulah was twelve when Luvinia came back, I'm not sure how young she was when Luvinia left, but Edna had been her older sister, so it was at least five years. Luvinia was much happier with this new man, but Henry, of course, was not too happy about this.
Eulah was a very good student, the tallest girl, and the champion in volleyball and jacks. Two boys were interested in her. But she always had a really poor self-image because of her eyes. Also, she had worked from an early age; she had to to make ends meet. She wanted to go to school past the eigth grade, but her family said they needed her to work and they couldn't afford it. Her teacher managed to get her a scholarship, but her parents still refused. She went to work. Meanwhile, she had a very good friend while she was growing up. When he was two or three years old, a new family moved in down the road, on Salt Fork Ridge Road in Casey County, Kentucky. He saw that it was a little girl and her father moving in, and he said, "That's the girl I'm going to marry." They grew up together on Salt Fork Ridge, went to church and school together. His name was Ernest Brown. Ernest was the oldest of six children. The others were Lester, Louis, Otha (pronounced Oathy, which is a word that might mean "having many oaths"), Marvin, Opal, and I can never remember all of them at the same time. I can't think of the one I've missed. Another boy. Their parents were Elsie Lawless and Roosevelt Brown, who have their own stories to tell.
Elsie was born LZ Brown. Her parents, Maude (pronounced Maudie) and Levi C. Lawless, moved to a farm/ranch in Texas. They had several children, the ones I know about were RB, OD, LZ, and Pearl. These names are pronounced backwards. OD was prounced like a drug overdose, and RB wasn't pronounced like Arby's, but like "Our bee." LZ changed the pronunciation and spelling of her name because she thought it made her parents look dumb. She never could decide on a spelling, though. The program at her funeral was for, "Elzie Brown," but her headstone says, "Elsie Brown." She was a wonderful person. She was funny, outgoing, at least in the family, and great to be around. I only have one unpleasant memory of going to see her, and that was when she was about a month away from death. She just wasn't aware of her surroundings and didn't seem to know anyone.
Elsie was quite an interesting little girl. There were a lot of Mexicans on the ranch/farm, and she and the other kids loved to play tricks on them. She would get into her mother's henhouse to try and make chickens swim...she never understood why they always drowned. These are the things she loved to joke about. All her children and grandchildren called her, "Mommy," and her husband, "Poppy." Her husband's name was Roosevelt Brown. His parents were Van and Leona Brown. He had a grandmother named Susannah, I know this because after my mother sent out birth announcements he thought she'd named me after his grandmother, but actually it was just a coincidence. The really strange thing is that my sister Charity is also named for one of our great-great grandmothers, but they didn't know that when they named her, either. My mother was just trying to give us unusual names so no one else we knew would be named the same as us. She had met way too many Judi Browns to give us common names.
Roosevelt was ten years older than Elsie. He was a circuit preacher, and she was a fifteen-year-old girl when they got married. Elsie's family left Texas in a covered wagon and settled in Casey County, Kentucky. Elsie's parents forbaid her to marry Roosevelt, but did she listen? No! They arranged to meet on the highway in the middle of the night and ride to another town to get married in the morning. Roosevelt rode his horse several miles to meet her, but she was on foot, and had to walk on narrow ledges across cliffs to get to him. People in my family still know where this very dangerous trail is. It's hard to believe anyone would walk this trail at night, but it's a testament to their love for each other. They were one of those rare couples who remained in love their entire lives. Their son, Ernest, and his wife, Eulah, were another such couple.
I did want to mention that Van Brown was mean. He and Leona had several children besides Roosevelt, but at the moment none of them except Gertrude comes to mind. They also adopted a boy named George Brown who was no relation. He loved George, but would never let his grandkids in the house.
Ernest and Eulah decided to get married as soon as they were old enough. Ernest was born I think May 20 1924, so he was about 6 or 7 months younger than Eulah. They were supposed to get married in November 1942, but there was a horrible blizzared and they couldn't get married until it let up. It let up on Christmas Day, so they got married December 26, 1942. They had a wonderful, but hard, life together. Ernest had a dream to have his own farm with a board fence, a horse, and black angus cattle. Eulah just wanted to get out of Kentucky. They soon had two children, Ernest Lee Brown and Judith Anne Brown. Judi was born May 3, 1946. When she was about three years old, they moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. They came with nothing but a suitcase, and got off the bus rather randomly. They didn't have a place to sleep or go, they just came. As soon as they got off the bus, they saw a man they knew walking down the street, and this man was able to get Ernest a job and even had an old army cot they could sleep on until they found a place. I was wrong, Judi wasn't born yet, because Eulah was pregnant at that time. They moved back and forth from Casey County and Cincinnati a lot during this time. My mom, Judi, barely remembers the while house in Kentucky and their border collie, Laddie, who they had to leave to come to Cincinatti. But they wanted so much to be with their father that Eulah decided they had to be together as a family again. They moved into a one-room apartment that didn't allow children, so Eulah told them that they had to play quiet on the bed all day. The amazing this is that they did. One day, the landlord came in and saw the two kids playing quietly. No one had even heard them. He told them that since they kids were so quiet and good they could stay.
Time went on, and they were able to move into a better apartment. Eulah got a job as a nurse's assistant, and their income shot up dramatically when she passed a test to become a practical nurse. They began buying run-down old homes, fixing them up, and selling them to buy their next home. Through their hard work, careful savings, and determination, they were finally able to buy the farm they dreamed of. It was in Shandon, a mile from the Fernald nuclear power plant. Today their farm is a subdivision.