Clay County, Florida History

Tracing our family trees can give us a glimpse or more into our heritage and a better understanding of our family history. The Clay County Archives in Florida wants to provide the best research for that genealogy.

Clay County has a database called The Goldmine of Names specific to Clay County and it’s history. They also have an African-American Genealogy section. Volunteers have been collecting and indexing black history sources.

There are also a couple of books you may be interested in. Jane Lander’s “Black Society in Spanish Florida”, available at the Archives and “The Forresters” by Vishi Garig (my personal friend!). According to the archives website, The Forrester family was the only free African-American family in Clay County in 1860. Many Clay residents are their descendants including, the Lycurgus, Redmond, Lewis, Miller, Lemon and Stewart families.

The archives can help you find the original source material. Much of it comes from bound records, court cases, or vertical files which have at the Archives.

The Archives maintains subject files for more than 400 individuals and families. The files contain clippings, photos, family histories, oral interviews and other items. | Catalog of the Subject Files – Genealogy |The catalog is constantly updated so if you do not see a name you are interested in, email them and they can check their files for you.

There are even some wonderful oral histories of these first Clay County residents:

Burroughs Jackson, Maude
Chalker, Martha A.
Coker, Neil
Cross, Martin
Hall, Margaret
Jennings, S. Bryan
Lycurgus, Edward – WPA Oral Interview, Fleming slave family
Oliver, Mami
Permenter, Eugene
Philips, Elizabeth
Smith, Sara Lynn Boe
Williamson, Ann

If you cannot make it to Clay County, let me help. I will be happy to help you with your family research.



We started hearing about Hurricane Dorian on Wednesday. It is now Monday and she is just now over the Bahamas with devasting effects. With what forecasters thought would come up the spine of Florida now looks like it will skirt and churn up the coast. I am in Clay County and they say we will see her fury tomorrow afternoon through Wednesday afternoon. That will be a week of anxiety and stress. Emotions up and down, will the storm go East or West? Will it hit land or not? How long will we be without electricity… and air conditioning?!

However, I thank God that we have had the time to prepare and plan. That our city and state have had to the time to direct us and protect us. I think about my ancestors, many of whom grew up on the coast just as I have, even closer. They did not have the warnings that we have today.  

Florida Hurricanes have been recorded back to 1851, they called it Great Middle Florida.  There were eleven more after that, unnamed. Then in 1926, Great Miami hit. Two years later, Okeechobee. There were five more storms, all unnamed, until Easy hit in 1950. They started naming them after that.  

My ancestors were LifeSavers up and down the Carolina coasts. I think about them and how they had to deal with these storms, mostly without warning. They were the guys in the trenches, in the seas, protecting their families and their neighbors. And, they were in boats like the one pictured below.

Courtesy of the U.S. Life-Saving Service Heritage Association

 Can you imagine a hurricane hitting with no warning? Well, that is what it was like before the 1870s. In the late 1870’s they would warn with the signal flags, but what if you didn’t see it? The invention of the electric telegraph in the 1840s made forecasting possible, but it wasn’t without its faults.   

People complain about our modern-day meteorologists and forecasters. But, I for one am glad we have some warning. As crazy as the waiting makes us, at least we have some time to protect our families, just like my ancestor U. S. Life-Savers, Wescott, Midgett, Daniels, Etheridge, and Tilletts. And, they did it without the warnings we have today.

I pray for everyone’s safety through Dorian’s wrath. And, I pray that you will heed the warnings you receive with gratitude and thanksgiving for all the storms in your life.


It has been a couple of months since I have written a decent blog, in my opinion anyway. I have had the extreme pleasure of helping a few people with their family trees. It has been as interesting as if I was researching my own family. Ancestors in mental institutions, ancestors run over by a train in front of a pub, and even resident aliens in a “boys refuge home” for juveniles who have committed crimes. I have learned so much about these different institutions, the time frame for having access to certain types of records and being saddened by some of the outcomes of these people. Most of these people have come to the United States or Canada for a better life only to find themselves in more trouble in one way or another.  

Since I am in a holding pattern with a couple of jobs I’m working on; waiting on records and information, I decided to give a couple of hours to my tree. I designated a few hours on two of my “brick walls”. Although I cleaned up some errors, I didn’t make any breakthroughs. I was rather frustrated. So, I decided to go through some more of my “limbs” and “leaves” and clean up other errors I had found. I bought a flash drive with more memory to back up my tree and made sure things were synched.

I have a tree on Ancestry® and also a database with Family Tree Maker (FTM) which sync together. If one goes down, I still have the information on the other one. I also back up my tree on a flash drive so I can easily “rebuild” if necessary. Of course, I also save all my information on my computer and the “cloud”, wherever that may be. My blogs also help me to keep things backed up too.

If you are working on your family tree, make sure you are saving things and backing things up. Even on Ancestry, you lose access to those records if your subscription lapses if you haven’t downloaded hard copies for yourself.

In doing so, a lot of those little leaves popped up telling me I had Ancestry hints galore. My tree was feeling neglected. So, I have given myself the challenge to commit to one or two hours to one person a day on a particular line. For instance, the Logan line is not finished but it is as far as I can go right now. I need that connection from Ireland to Scotland. That missing link!

The next logical step now is to follow my father’s mother’s line. I will follow her father’s line, the Kunkle’s, to make sure I have exhausted all findings there. I did extensive research on them years ago, but I need to revisit them to make sure I haven’t missed anything… or anyone.

Maybe I’ll find someone interesting to blog about, after all, they were glassmakers.

If you need research assistance for your family tree, do not hesitate to contact me.

Your Family Tree Research Specialist

It’s Not Over…

A family tree is never over. It is amazing to me when I hear someone say, “I’ve finished my family tree.” Really? How is that? You have over 2020 years of ancestors in your tree? Highly doubtful.

I love working on my genealogy because it is never over. What will I find out next? To find an ancestor who came from Poland only to meet another ancestor who came over from Germany and fall in love and made baby descendants in a time where that would have been forbidden in their own countries. It’s just magical.  

It also gets very complicated because I cannot just say, “I’m Irish or English.”  I can definitely say I am mostly European. That is most definitely the case. I used to believe and tell people that the Logan name is Irish.  I just knew I was mostly Irish. That was until I started my own genealogy. Now I know that my Logans came from Scotland. Sure, we have Logans in Ireland too, but you have to keep going, keep digging. And, my son was quite happy to learn we have Vikings in our genes.

My story is diverse.  So it is with yours if you dig far and deep enough.

I have yet to find my connection to the above Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Belarus, or that whole area West of Poland and Slovenia.  I am excited to see what it holds, who it holds and their stories.   

In the meantime, I am helping others with their stories and loving it! I am also learning as I go.  I am finding more repositories, research websites, and making more connections. I find that I really do love helping others.  I have done several pro bono jobs that have let to some paying gigs, but in both, I have truly enjoyed the hunt and the satisfaction of helping someone else find their roots.  

If you need research assistance, do not hesitate to contact me.

Your Family Tree Research Specialist

Guest Blog- Research Project

I first contacted Marlee April 2019, via Gedmatch.  Marlee compared our results, and said “We are a match!!  Five generations”.  

Largest segment = 12.2 cM
Total of segments > 7 cM = 12.2 cM
1 matching segments
(Rough) Estimated number of generations to MRCA = 5.1

On June 23rd, we decided we would embark on finding our MRCA (Most Recent Common Ancestor).  

Note 1:  The further distant the common ancestor, the more varied are the possible relationships.  

Note 2:  The GEDmatch prediction could be a lower number when pedigree collapse is involved, which can happen in the case of Gottschee, an enclave of German speaking residents in what is now Slovenia.  Or, GEDmatch may predict a higher number when there are extra generations involved. 

Rough guide:

1C share grandparents, gen 2.0

2C share great grandparents, gen 3.0 (around 50cM)

3C share great-great grandparents, aka 2nd great-grandparents, gen 4.0

4C cousins share 3GGG, aka 3rd great-grandparents, gen 5.0

The problem was, although Marlee had a well developed tree, my own family tree was sadly lacking in depth.  I only knew that my grandfather had been born in Vienna, that his mother’s first name was Maria and she was unmarried so he took her maiden name…and that he was raised in Gottschee, so that is ‘likely’ where their roots were.  That’s it!

Here we are a month later, July 22, 2019 – and Marlee has miraculously filled in all the missing details!   I now know who Maria’s parents are, when and where they were born, and who my third great-grandparents are on Maria’s side, including their birthdates and marriages.  On Maria’s maternal side, the family originated from Czech Republic (then part of the Austro-Hungarian empire). I had no clue where to find that information, and in no time at all, Marlee had hunted down the information online.

So, you are wondering, did we find our shared MRCA?  Ha ha, not yet! However, since Marlee did such an excellent job researching Maria’s side of the family, including her siblings, we now know that we can exclude that side of the family from the list.  The hunt is now on to determine who Maria’s partner may have been. This is when dna comes in handy to augment paper trails, as we do not currently have his name, d.o.b. nor a location. However, we have plenty of clues with shared matches on 23andMe, and Marlee will be uploading her results there soon as well. 

I have no doubt with Marlee’s superior sleuthing abilities, hard work and determination, she and I will be able to follow each lead to a logical conclusion supported by a paper trail. DNA does not tell you with absolute certainty what your relationship is, merely that you share segments which have been handed down.  In order to prove a relationship, you must have the records to back it up.

That is why your best bet is to hire a competent researcher like Marlee, to further your family tree when you hit a brick wall. I never in a million years would have guessed we would have come this far, in such a short amount of time. I’m so glad I reached out to Marlee, she’s genuinely such a nice person, too – I’m glad she’s my cousin!

Thank you, cousin.   What an adventure it has been!  ~Marlee

If you need research assistance, do not hesitate to contact me.

Your Family Tree Research Specialist

Ephraim Marston (Logan side)

Bewitched Sister, Fornication, Revengeful, Vandal, and Malt Maker; He was one of the most distinguished citizens of Hampton, New Hampshire.

#genealogy #family history #WDYTYA #ancestry #familysearch #genealogist #familystories #rootstech #familyhistorian

It has been a week since I have blogged and twenty-two days since I have written about an ancestor.  After watering and doing some gardening before the heat set in, I made myself go into my Ancestry to see if an ancestor would pop out at me.  Yes, I felt in a rut and needed something to grab me.   So, I found Abigail Marston.  My tree ended with her line, meaning I didn’t show parents for her.  I figured I would see if I could find them.  In my search, I kept seeing her as having different birthdates and variations of her name as “Abia” and “Abiel”.  I did more research making sure I had the same person.   Then it hit me.  There are two women with the same name and same father, born 20 years apart.  I just had to find proof that I was correct.

Usually, when two children have the same name it was because the first child died young, so the next time the couple had a child of the same gender they would name him or her the same name.  But, not this time.  In this incidence, Abigail married someone her parents did not approve of and she was disowned.  This is stated in the “History of the Town of Hampton“.   But, why?  Was it because of her husband, John Green?  Or, was it for some other reason.

It was time to do more digging.  I happened on an article at written by Cheryl Lassiter.  In it, she speaks of the history of Hampton and Ephraim’s role in it.  Do you know Eunice “Goody” Cole?  She was the first woman in New Hampshire to be convicted of witchcraft.  Evidently, she turned one of Ephraim’s siblings into an ape that led to the child’s death.    (“Goody” was a way to refer to married Puritan women.)

From the Hampton Lane Memorial Library (

Goody Marston and Goodwife Palmer against Eunice Cole

The deposition of Goody Marston and Goodwife Susannah Palmer — who being sworn saith that Goodwife Cole said that she was sure there was a witch in the town, and she knew where he dwelt and who they are and that thirteen years ago she knew one bewitched as Goodwife Marston’s child was and she said she was sure that party was bewitched, for it told her so and it was changed from a man to an ape as Goody Marston’s child was and she had prayed this thirteen years that God would discover that witch and farther that deponent saith not. Taken upon oath before the commissioners of Hampton the 8th of the 2d month: 1656 William Fuller Henry Dow. Vera Copia per me Thomas Bradbury.

Sworn in court September 4, 1656, per Edward Rawson Secretary.

Source: MA 135:2.

Ephraim was twenty-one when he married Abiel Sanborn, aged eighteen, on February 19, 1677.  One month later their daughter, Abiel was born.  Yes, that’s right, one month later.  In October of that year, the court convicted Ephraim and his wife of fornication (then defined as sex before marriage). The standard punishment was a public whipping, but in their case only a fine, to be paid in corn, was ordered.  Was this why her father disowned her?  Because she was pregnant before she married?

Could be, or it could be because of her husband’s grandfather, Justice Henry Green.  In the 1680s, Justice Green assisted the royal government in Portsmouth in its scheme to seize the land of dozens of townsmen like Sanborn.

From the History of the Town of Hampton Falls, New Hampshire from the time …, Volume 1
By Warren Brown

Green, Henry Justice
Notice the familiar names? Gove and Nathaniel Weare

They sure did keep it in the family.

Day Of Action

Edward Gove undoubtedly expected that when his arrest was attempted, there would be resistance and then a general uprising. It didn’t happen. He returned to Hampton Saturday, Jan. 27, 1683.

He and 11 other rebels, all on horseback, moved in two lines into the tiny colonial village on the New Hampshire Seacoast, shouting, “Freemen, come out and stand for your liberties.” Led by Gove, they were nearly all from Hampton, with their leader waving his sword and the trumpeter sounding their arrival with a military medley. Gove, seeing no demonstration in his favor at his appearance, lay down his arms and gave himself up to the authorities of the town, as did the others. They were taken into custody by the militia, except the trumpeter, who escaped.

That house arrest didn’t hold the men long and they were soon on the dirt road again where Henry Green, a justice of the peace, saw them. Gove threatened him with his gun.

William Marston, the local constable, armed with the governor’s warrant, soon arrived at Gove’s home and made a diligent search, but he could not find him. Returning homeward in the nighttime, when he could not plainly see, he heard the trumpet as Gove and the trumpeter galloped past them. The constable immediately returned to the Gove homestead. By the time they arrived back at the rebel’s door, the latch string was pulled in, but Gove said, “open the door” and defiantly stood before the constable with his sword or cutlass drawn, pointing towards the assembled gathering.

“Hands off,” he said. “I know your business as well as yourself. I will not be taken in my house.”

Nathaniel Ladd, the trumpeter, stepped to him to assist him with his sword drawn toward the constable’s breast. Marston’s mouth dropped open, his eyes popped out and in an instant, he knew what to do — secure more assistance.

Returning to Gove’s home, the Constable saw Edward Gove, Nathaniel Ladd, John Gove, and William Hely quickly mount and ride away.

Ephraim was actively involved in Hampton’s civic life and military affairs. Often called upon to give testimony on important issues affecting the town and province, he served as selectman, boundary and road surveyor, constable, and a sergeant in the militia.

In 1693, the officials voted against the private fencing of common land.  The law was being ignored, with only warnings being given.  In 1704, Ephraim and several armed men set out to enforce the law.  Their first stop was to Edward Roby’s farm where “in a hostile manner with force and armes etc. to the great Terror and Afrighting of her Majesties good subjects, [the posse] violently maliciously riotously & randomly did throw down burne and destroye a great quantity” of the fencing that Edward Roby had placed around his orchard trees and vines.

The men moved to Francis Jenness’ farm, “pulling downe and destroying a considerable quantitie of his fence.” They also wrecked his son’s fence “to the indaingering” of his corn crop.  The farmers sued Ephraim and the others for the damage to their property, but the jury found the defendants not guilty.

From 1691-1703, Love Sherburne ran the only tavern in Hampton after her husband was killed by Indians at Maquoit Bay.   Captain Sherburne and his militia were loading their ship to return home on August 4 when they were attacked.  Samuel Sherburne had run the tavern since 1678.  He left behind a pregnant Love and eight children.

Henry Dow, the marshall at the time, kept a diary.  In it, he wrote often of the Sherburne Tavern as he frequented it quite often.  He drank tavern-brewed beer “made with malt from local maltster Ephraim Marston, rum, hard cider, Madeira wine, burnt wine (brandy), and flip (a belly-warming mixture of eggs, sugar, rum, and beer heated with a red-hot loggerhead). He also bought “raysons” and cherry bounce (a cordial of brandy, cherries, and sugar) at the tavern.”

map of taverns
See the Leavitt’s at the top of the map?  I have Leavitt’s in my tree, in Hampton, not sure of this relationship at this time though.

In 1703, Love retired from the tavern and Ephraim was approved for a license.  He and his family ran the tavern for the next ten years.  In 1712, the town granted him a 1/4 acre of land “by the fort in the [Ring] swamp to set a malt-house on.” (As a guard against Indian attacks, this fort had been built up around the meeting house during the period 1689-1692). Ephraim and his heirs were to “enjoy the same” as long as they would malt barley, used in beer making, for the town.

Ephraim had a lot of real estate.  He was one of the most distinguished citizens of Hampton.  He was a Representative to General Court for several years,  was a Government Contractor, a took a prominent part in public affairs; his name appears twenty-two times in the provincial public documents.

He had nine children.  Ephraim deeded each of his sons a farm and made sure they were settled for life.

By 1731 Ephraim’s “beloved son” Jeremiah was running the malt house, which had grown to an extensive operation that paid a yearly tax of three pounds. In 1736 Ephraim deeded the malt house to Jeremiah, in recognition of his son’s “immediate care of ye management of my outward affairs.” It was said that the malt house “stood there many years,” and was within the memory of the old-timers of the mid-nineteenth century.

Unfortunately, Jeremiah was killed in the French and Indian War on 13 February 1745.  He had eight children.

 Ephraim died from cancer in October of 1742.  He was 88.  Abiel died less than a year later at age 90.  At some point, he must have forgiven his daughter because he left her one feather bed and 4 pounds (equal to $865.00 today).  At the end of his will, he states “Now the reason I have given my several children no more is because I have given them considerable during my lifetime.”  Dated January 17, 1729.

As always, please let me know if you see any errors or have any questions.

If you need research assistance, do not hesitate to contact me.

Your Family Tree Research Specialist

Baby, It’s Hot Outside

Florida is in for a heat wave.  Yes, it’s only May, but it’s May in Florida.   Temps in the three digits with the heat indices (the “feel like” temps) going way above that.   But, thankfully, we have Mr. Carrier to thank for inventing air conditioning!  Our office unit went out last weekend and was not fixed until Tuesday morning.  That is miserable in itself, but battling a sinus infection to boot was not fun. That got me thinking about how our ancestors handled the heat, especially in the humid areas like Florida, before air conditioning. I think a lot of how they traveled by foot to most places, in the extremes of the weather, on boats and in trains with no air conditioning, without the comfort of shorts and tees like we have today. So, how did they handle the heat?  In watching some shows on old homes and castles, the ceilings were very high and windows were placed in such a way as to catch the breezes.  One fine example is the old Logan homestead in Connecticut.  Look at those windows!
Collection of the Gunn Historical Museum, Washington, CT
Before electricity, houses would have large clothlike fans that hung from the ceiling with a long rope and they would swing them back and forth to move the air.  The “shoo-fly” fan was varied and could be used over the dining room table while eating or in a sitting room while reading. However, those who couldn’t afford these “shoo-fly” fans had to be creative.   People hung their wet laundry in front of doorways,  some kept their sheets refrigerated.   And, others, froze their underwear!  Some people even braided ice cubes in their hair… hm. Others wet their curtains so that when the wind blew, it would blow cooler air.  When they started to dry out, they just threw cups of water at them. Homeowners with flat roofs would water down their roofs when the sun went down to keep the house cooler to sleep.  Some would sleep on those roofs.  They had shade trees on both the east and west side of the houses.  “Shotgun” houses, like those still found in Louisiana, were made one-room width of the building which allows for windows and doors to be lined up for cross-ventilation. In other houses, windows were opposite each other for cross ventilation.  And, of course, front porches were where families gathered most of the time.  The front porch was a “social institution”.  The comfort of electricity has killed that in more ways than one.  People used to stroll outside and sit in porch swings.  And, some homes had “sleeping porches” made for sleeping at night, screened in for protection.  There was a lot of creek swimming back then too. People wore loose fitting and flowing clothes made of cotton or linen and colors of white.   Schedules were different, unlike how the tv shows portrayed, a lot of people ate their meals later in the day.  Beds were positioned in front of their windows.  People napped during the hottest parts of the day so they could work in the cooler part.  They got up very early to do their chores.  The ice-man was very popular!  Delivering blocks of ice was as popular as the ice cream man today. The 1891-built house the Barnacle in Florida cleverly put a cupola on its roof to act as a ventilator. As hot air rose, it could escape through the cupola. Fresh, cooler air could then enter through one of the many double-height windows and doors that opened directly onto the generous wraparound porches. Of course, the oldest “invention” were cave dwellers, those living underground enjoyed temperatures in the 50’s year round.  This is why in those places with hills and mountains, houses were built into the sides of them so they had cooler places to congregate, underground.  During a third-century summer, the eccentric Roman Emperor Elagabalus sent 1,000 slaves to the mountains to fetch snow for his gardens. Of course, now we are so acclimated to air conditioning, we cannot deal with the heat when we go outside.  We can blame climate change, El Niño, or whatever, but according to Berkely Earth, we are only 1.4 degrees warmer than we were in the 1950s.  Let’s face it, we are spoiled!  No ifs, ands, or buts about it.  Yes, I do believe in climate change, I am not saying it is not happening.  And, yes, the climate is warmer, but luckily, inventors like Carrier have helped us adapt. Carrier is not my ancestor, but I am thankful to all who have gone before to pave the way for us. Image result for Carrier invented If you need research assistance, do not hesitate to contact me. Your Family Tree Research Specialist