Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pennington Surprise in Clay Co., KY

My great grandmother was born in Clay Co., KY and was the daughter of Melvina Robertson and John Ward Kelley.  We had the information of where Sarah Rachel Kelley was born, so I began doing a bit of wandering through census records to see if I could find some further information on the family.  It turns out that the Kelleys lived in Sexton Creek, Clay Co., KY.  Once I began looking at census records, I came across a very familiar name…one that I have a “passing” interest in…Pennington.

One of the families that I was looking at was the Robinson/Robertson family.  Sarah Kelley’s mother was Melvina Robertson who was the daughter of Charles Robinson and Catherine Shelton.  Now…the Robertson/Robinson surname is usually one variation or the other and they are the same family.  There were nine children and Melvina was the youngest of the family.  Her father died just a few years after she was born, and her mother remarried a Julius Spivey.  Melvina had an older sister named Elizabeth who was born 20 Oct 1838 in Clay Co., KY and died on 9 April 1921 also in Clay Co., KY.  She was married to a John Brummett on 31 Jul 1856 in Clay Co., KY.  They had two daughters, Lucinda Jane born 1857 and Mary Elizabeth born 29 Jul 1859.  It turns out that the Pennington I found up on Sexton Creek was the husband of Mary Elizabeth Brummett.  John W. “Curly” Pennington and Mary Elizabeth Brummett were married 13 Jan 1875 in Clay Co., KY and they were the family that I had located in the census. 

So now I had to figure out where John W. “Curly” Pennington fit into the Pennington puzzle.  John W. Pennington was born in Harlan Co., KY on 20 May 1855.  His parents were James Pennington and Mary “Polly” Lewis.  Of course when I find him in the census in 1860 with his parents, he is living in Clay Co., KY and they are in the household of Ephraim Pennington and Matilda.   (Clay Co., KY, Pg 58 #367 – Flat Creek PO) It is obvious that James is the son of Ephraim and Matilda…it is not so obvious which group that they fit in.  Just prior to Ephraim, I see another Pennington name so I go to the previous page and locate a Levi Pennington on line 365.  This is the older brother of Ephraim and there is an older woman who is most likely a mother-in-law by the name of Polly Lewis.
Clip from the 1860 census showing the James Pennington family.

So, now I have something to take to my own Pennington contacts.  One of those is a descendant of Group 31 – who are labeled as the descendants of Aaron Pennington and Ann Coldiron.  It turns out that the two brothers that I have found living near my Clay Co., KY relatives were actually the sons of Aaron Pennington and Ann Coldiron and were mostly likely born in Ashe Co., NC which is where a large chunk of my family comes from.  So, the John W. Pennington that married Mary Elizabeth Brummett was the son of James Pennington and Mary “Polly” Lewis and the grandson of Ephraim Pennington and Matilda Fields.  It turns out the Ephraim’s full name is Ephraim Aaron Pennington and he is the third son of Aaron Pennington and Ann Coldiron. 

I am the group leader for Group 7 of the Pennington Research Association.  During my research, I’ve had to look at a lot of Levi’s and Ephraim’s and the surname of Lewis has come up more than once.  Since I have been a member of the PRA, there has been a lot of DNA testing and we have pretty much established that several of these groups that we have identified actually have a DNA connection even though we have never found a documentary connection.  I can’t tell you how much time that I have spent untangling Penningtons in Ashe Co., NC – it was almost a bit disappointing to come across them in Clay Co., KY as well while researching a whole other family line.  If it hadn’t been for my PRA buddy sending me in the right direction, it might have taken a lot longer to figure out.

So while the Group 31 Penningtons are not directly related to me in anything that may resemble a close connection, the children of John W. “Curly” Pennington and Mary Elizabeth Brummett are a bit of a closer connection.  After all, Mary’s mother Elizabeth, was the elder sister of my great great grandmother and in genealogical terms…that is pretty close.