Thursday, March 8, 2012

Finder's Delight


Imagine the delight of the researcher who one day decided to get a copy of the John Barton Revolutionary pension file.  You must imagine how it might have happened.  They have been vainly searching for more information on John Barton and Elizabeth Pennington.  Perhaps they didn’t even know Elizabeth’s last name or the names of her parents and siblings.  Can you imagine the frustration?  Then one day after waiting for several weeks, you get a package in the mail from the US Archives – and there it is – spelled out in black and white – a list of their children and Elizabeth’s family!

The early Pennington researchers spent a great deal of time trying to piece together families with sometimes limited resources.  It isn’t like now when there is a wealth of information available for sometimes for little money or for free.  I can download a copy of the entire John Barton pension on my library’s website through Heritage Quest.  I know that when I ordered two Civil War pensions that they cost me about $40 a piece.  You never quite know what you are going to get when you order a military pension.  Sometimes it is a bonanza of information and other times it can be merely a curiosity.  However, this particular pension has a wealth of information in the first two pages alone.  It lists the complete list of children for John and Elizabeth Pennington Barton and then on the second page it lists her entire family. 

This second page was particularly important to a lot of Pennington researchers.  It isn’t very often that you have exact birth dates or a complete listing of family members from a family who were all born in the 1700’s.  If it wasn’t for this record – we might never know about Rachel Pennington b.25 Dec 1771 because I know of no descendants for her.  Yet Elijah, Levi, & Benajah remain enigmas.  For many years it was assumed that my ancestor Levi Pennington b. 1794 was a son of Levi b. 1767 – but other evidence has suggested otherwise.  Levi b. 1767 disappears from records after 1815 – he may have gone elsewhere or passed away.  Elijah supposedly married a Susannah Kelley and went to TN. I’ve never found trace of him after 1800 or so and I have never been sure where the marriage record came from.  We have listings of descendants of the rest of the children, but only one stayed in Ashe Co., NC.  Benajah pretty much disappears from history after a power of attorney document was found in 1812 concerning his father.  After that, there is no further trace that has yet been found.

Micajah, Jr went to Lee Co., VA and Harlan Co., KY – we don’t know the name of his wife, but we do have several children who are attributed to him.  He died sometime after the 1850 census probably in Harlan Co., KY.  Mary Pennington married Jesse Bowling and ended up in Breathitt Co., KY and died in 1842.  Edward “Neddy” Pennington married Martha “Patsy”Flanary and moved to Lee Co., VA.  Elizabeth married John Barton, Jr and lived in Grayson Co., VA.  Sarah “Sarey” Pennington married Samuel Johnston, Sr and moved to Buckhorn, Perry Co., KY and died in 1817.  Johanna married Douglas Dickson and died sometime after 1860 in Ashe Co., NC

There are a lot more details that I can include on these families…and probably will sometime in the future – but imagine the delight of discovering the proof of the kinship of these brothers and sisters with their parents.  Much of this information was first spelled out by Bee Holmes who was one of the founding members of the Pennington Research Association.  I could easily put myself in her shoes and imagine the “genealogy high” she must have experienced when she saw that document for the first time.  I think that “high” is one of the reasons that so many of us out there spend so much time in genealogy research…that kind of experience can spur you on to even more devoted research in hopes of finding another great piece of documentation.

List of Micajah Pennington Family - Pg 1
List of Micajah Pennington Family - Pg 2