Sherlene\’s G-LOG

Making Sense of the Census (Fording the Langs, at Present)

Stephen Lankford (b. 1742-1746, d. 1811, m. 1)__ Singleton, 2) Lois Mullins), Early Settler of Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle, Kentucky

STEPHEN LANGFORD HAS STAR ROLE IN UPCOMING JEFF RENNER BOOK.  Note from skilled area researcher Jeff Renner, 7 Mar 2008, that I distributed to all Langfords on my list:  “Ann sent me a note that made me realize everyone may not know what I’m working on.  It’s not a book about the Langfords. It’s a short book/booklet/whatever about early Rockcastle and Mt. Vernon. Of course, Stephen Langford plays the major role. The title is ‘Three Springs and a Wilderness Station,’ and it should be out mid-April.”  –shb 7 Mar 2008

BOOK NOW AVAILABLE.  E-note from Jeff to shb, 17 Apr 2008:  “Sherlene, I don’t know how many people on your list may be interested, but my book is ready to go. Details can be found on my Web site at: <; .   I’d also like to donate one to the LDS library, if they accept and are interested in such things. If so, let me know where to send it. [I called Church headquarters in SLC and learned it should be mailed to:  Genealogical Society of Utah/Purchase, Acquisitions, & Gifts/50 E N Temple St./Salt Lake City, UT 84150-3400.  The Society will send a letter to acknowledge receipt of the book, along with a letter of authorization Jeff can feel free to sign or decline. Once authorized, the book will be digitized and entered in the Family History Library Card Catalog, where it can be accessed from over 4,500 family history centers around the world (some of whom may wish to order the book for their own libraries, but I told Jeff that was totally his decision–shb.] Thanks, Jeff”  [I forwarded Jeff’s letter to everybody on my list, today.  Even though the book features Stephen Langford, and we can’t prove any connection to my ancestor, Walker Lankford (who lived near Mt. Vernon, in Pulaski County), I feel any person with Kentucky ancestry will feel more rooted, reading Jeff’s book.  I ordered it today at his bargain price ($10. + $3. shipping) and can hardly wait to read it!  –shb 17 Apr 2008

RELATIONSHIP: These notes describe the life and times of early Mt. Vernon, Kentucky settler, road builder, and a slave holder whose family is said to have helped run the Underground Railroad and were Union sympathizers. Stephen Langford was born about 1742-1746 and died between February and May 1, 1811.  Unfortunately, recent DNA results from a descendant of James Harvey Langford, Sr., ancestor of Sherlene Hall Bartholomew, compiler of these notes (shb, herafter), and a descendant of Walker Lankford, of Pulaski County, Kentucky, do not match the profile of that found in descendants of Mt. Vernon Stephen.  However, the role of my father’s Quaker relatives, of influence on Jesse Stubbs, who purchased and transported the Craig Langford slave family from Rockcastle to Ohio, ties me to the Stephen Langford clan, not to mention all other emotional connections that include reunioning with members of this incredible family in Mt. Vernon, in May 2007.

I encourage members of my Langford tribe to read these notes.  There is much here that involves locations and the life experience of our own people, and you will find correspondence from Stephen’s descendants and their friends entertaining, as well as informative.

Jeff Renner, distinguished area researcher of especially the Wilderness Road, is not himself a Langford, but has scoured more original area documents than any of us.  He consistently shares his prodigious knowledge of Langford information with patient generosity, as indicated in these notes and greatly reflected in information compiled here.

“Mt. Vernon Stephen,” or “Rockcastle Stephen,” as we call him, was a fourth great-grandfather of research/writer Shiron Wordsworth, by Stephen’s first wife, who was a Singleton (he married Lois Mullins late in life). Another known descendant of Stephen, who has been involved in the ancestral search and has generously shared his compiled genealogy is John Robert or “Whetstone Bob” Langford.  Ann Langford (some of her contributions, below) and her first cousin, Dick Langford, now also have DNA proof that they are descendants of Mt. Vernon Stephen, via their ancestor, Benjamin T. C. (Thomas Crutch) Langford, though their exact connection to Mt. Vernon Stephen is not yet forged.  Another descendant, Julie Goodwin, wrote this June to claim her descendancy from Stephen (their e-addresses and contact information are placed in their blind files and/or Mt. Vernon Stephen’s).

Jeff Davis prodigioiusly posts information from many Langford lines, including Mt. Vernon Stephen’s, on his site that includes a mushrooming Langford timeline, family photos, and other crucial Langford information.  Jeff has inspired and at times even sponsored DNA results of Stephen’s descendants, though his own Langford line does not show a DNA connect.  [Family correspondence, at receiving surprising DNA results, is included at end of these notes, along with other letters of ours, trying to get at the facts.]

These notes, compiled by shb, will be revised from time to time, as new material becomes available and as his descendants stay in touch.  Corrections are invited and appreciated.  I begin with introductory material I have collected and lead into a chronology of events in Mt. Vernon Stephen’s life.  Readers are invited to add to any of this and will be fully credited for their dated contributions.  Correspondence from many of you brings life and color to these notes.  I’m inclined to call you MY Langfords, DNA notwithstanding.

ABT. 1742-1746–BIRTH:  From area historian/scholar, Jeff Renner, in response to a letter I wrote, 25 Nov 2007, that brought up the question of Stephen’s birth:  “Mt. Vernon Stephen was born no later than about 1746, perhaps most likely is a birthdate about 1742 [I had it as “abt. 1748” and have seen other since discounted accounts giving the date as even later].  –shb 26 Nov 2007

BIRTH PLACE NOT CERTAIN: Per note from Shiron Wordsworth to shb, 16 Oct 2006: “We have no evidence that Stephen was born in Caroline County. Those genealogies that assign him as being born there are the ones that assume Pitt Ben was Nicholas’ son. Again, the only proof I’ve ever seen given for that theory is that a Benjamin and a Nicholas resided in Caroline County in the 1750s. The conflicting dates of the 1760’s and beyond between the courts of Caroline and Halifax make that theory unlikely for many reasons. . . .”  –shb

MORE ABOUT STEPHEN’S PLACE OF BIRTH/ABOUT STEPHEN’S SLAVES AND SLAVERY/SAME PERSON AS THE TORY STEPHEN?   From Shi Wordsworth’s, e-letter to shb, 17 Mar 2006: “In spare moments I’ve tried to chase Stephen Langford in Virginia. That’s a really dry well so far. He isn’t on the first tithables list in Pittsylvania in 1767, and he isn’t there to take the Oath of Allegiance in 1777. I can’t find him there at all.

“I wrote to Martha Green through Rootsweb, asking for a copy of Benjamin’s will which she says mentions Stephen as a son of Benjamin, but so far I haven’t heard anything. The truth is, I haven’t found Stephen anywhere in Virginia. Doesn’t mean he’s not there, but he certainly is well hidden. I tried to search The Library of the University of Virginia. Absolutely no results for Stephen. Benjamin is there. And Joseph, John, and Henry are on the tithables lists in Pittsylvania. Stephen, however, is not.

“I can find a Stephen Langford fairly quickly in Rutherford County, North Carolina. This Stephen is the Tory whose lands were confiscated in 1781 because he fought with the Brits at Kings Mountain. I even found an account that the Patriots captured Lt. Stephen Langford along with a man named Green, and that the two of them managed to escape. Interestingly enough the first record of Stephen Langford in Kentucky to surface so far is the 1782 Petition to the Virginia Assembly for either better government or separation (Petition # 15). He signed that petition along with other movers and shakers from that portion of Kentucky.

“Then there’s the rumor that keeps arising from Rockcastle records that there was a branch of the Langfords in that county from Virginia, and another from North Carolina. But nothing is certain about that.

“I wrote to the cousin who claimed Liberty was the Father of [slave] Fanny’s children. No answer.

“I’ve been reading up on the Underground Railroad. In one book, Bound for Canaan, by Fergus M. Bordewich, (C) 2005, the author states that the abolitionists never made it a practice to purchase slaves simply because they would have needed a billion dollars in that day and time in order to secure freedom for the slaves, and they thought that purchasing slaves validated the rights of slaveowners to imprison human beings. Bordewich also claims that no one was involved with the Underground Railroad unless they were avowed abolitionists. And yet a slaveholder such as Liberty would have been anathema to the abolitionists. So…that makes the sale of the Craig Langford family even more mysterious to say nothing of Langford Station being a stop on the Underground Railroad. Yet sources other than the Langford family say that Langford Station was most certainly part of the UR. But the sale of the Craig Langford family to the Quakers appears to go against the grain of history for sure. More mystery. [An article I wrote about our search/find of the Craig Langfords is at end of these notes–shb.]

“In any case you might like this book. It has lots about Levi Coffin [my ancestor–shb] in it. Looking at the entire slave schedule for 1860, and partial information from the1850 schedule, it’s evident that the Langfords were getting out of the business of slaves. Liberty had about 1000 acres of land in 1860, and only one remaining slave with 1 slave house. He’s the only Langford with any slaves at all, and to my surprise, 28 citizens of that county owned anywhere from 7 to 15 slaves, not counting the many who owned from 1 to 6 slaves. Moses Newcomb, Liberty’s supposed relative by marriage, had 15 slaves in 1860, with 4 slave houses.

“In 1853, there was an indictment in Rockcastle County against A. G. W. Parker, a native of South Carolina, for spreading material favoring abolition. So from the early 1850s, there was an abolitionist presence in the county. What connection Mr. Parker had with the Langfords, if any, is a complete unknown at this time. But for sure abolitionists were at work there.

“I found out that Stephen was up to many enteprenural activities other than Langford Station, and since he was in Lincoln County relatively early, it’s possible that at least one of his daughters by his first wife was born there. He had business in three counties.

“Yes, Catherine Windham was Stephen2’s wife. And the name Elza appearing in Indiana is odd [I sent her an 1880 Census record for an “Elza R. Lankford” that I found-shb]. My Elza had the initial preceding his known name. His marriage record to Mattie Townsend has him listed as R. Elza Langford. My guess would be that the “R” stands for Robert, but that’s only a guess. For all I know it could represent Randalph, or Rupert, or who knows what.

“I’m out of steam right now, but these are the basics. If you can find Stephen in Virginia, tell him to give me a holler.

“Shi” –shb 18 Mar 2006

THROUGH CRAB ORCHARD TO MT. VERNON: Shiron Wordsworth e-letter to Allen Leigh, copied to shb, 12 Oct 2003: “Before the advent of the four-lane highway, we always had to go through Crab Orchard whenever we went to Mt. Vernon. Mom and Dad still go the ‘old’ route whenever they visit, which is at least once a year. She said, ‘I always feel like I’m “there” when I get to Crab Orchard.’ According to her, Crab Orchard is twelve miles from Mt. Vernon, with Brodhead between the two.” -shb 12 Oct 2003  [My ancestor, Walker Lankford, was of Crab Orchard District, Lincoln County, Kentucky, and was listed with his family in several Pulaski County censuses, before he followed son Fielding to Indiana–shb.]

MT. VERNON ABOUT AN HOUR SOUTH OF LEXINGTON: Letter from Liz Neil (sister of shb) after I on 2 Oct 2006 forwarded her contact information for Mt. Vernon/Rockcastle County historians (since she has a daughter in Kentucky): “Thanks. Unfortunately, I get there only a couple of times a year, and it would be unlikely that I would have any time for family history work. I’ll be there in February, but will be plenty busy taking care of Erin’s family after the birth of her third child. Mt. Vernon looks to be about an hour or more south of Lexington, where Erin lives. It is pretty country–at least in the spring and fall. Summers are hot and muggy. It’s still pretty even then–from an air- conditioned car. Liz” –shb 2 Oct 2006 [After touring the Lexington LDS temple, we visited Erin and family and took them to dinner, while in Kentucky for the May 2007 Stephen Langford Memorial Reunion.  Liz was right–the drive there was a delight, with rolling green hills, and fenced horse pastures.  I told Dan I could happily settle a home in Kentucky.] –shb

NAMED IN HENDERSON FAMILY HISTORY.  Photocopy of Rockcastle Roots (author’s name too faint to read–shb), p. 76, mailed by Terry Smith to shb, 30 Sep 2006:  ” . . . Coming with him and his family [meaning William Henderson, b. Scotland, 1699, wife Anna Logan, and family–shb] to Kentucky were Patrick Akes and the Graves brothers.  Brothers James and [name cut off–shb] each settled on Skeggs Creek (a.k.a. Skaggs Creek[ and __ many descendants in this area.  Family trdition is to the ___that he built the first house in Mt. Vernon, later known ____ Langfor[d] House, and sold it to Stephen Langford, who ___ living there at the time Rockcastle County was formed ____ said to have later named this house Mt. Vernon, from a ____ resemblance to George Washington’s home, and that he suggested that the settlement growing up around it be named Mt. Vernon, which was officially done when it was made the county seat of the new county.  He was also one of the group who decided that the county be named for its principal stream, the Rockcastle River.”  –shb 27 Apr 2007

FROM VIRGINIA TO KENTUCKY: Here’s a letter I wrote the family on Easter Sunday, April 17, 2006:  “Dear Ones, Westward into Kentucky, The Narrative of Daniel Trabue, ed. by Chester Raymond Young (as recommended by Shiron Wordsworth and ordered for me by Dan) arrived yesterday, but I didn’t get a chance to look at it until this evening, after a much needed nap. What an Easter treat!

“It seemed too meaningful to just be coincidental, as I read on this Easter Sunday about some of Trabue’s endearing young thoughts, as he wished he could celebrate Easter on the Kentucky trail, as he had done in Old Virginia.

“Following his experience is vibrantly real, as ancestors on both my Hall and Langford sides took his same path and experienced much of what he describes with such fascinating detail. Dan and I both have Huguenot ancestors, so we enjoyed quite a discussion about them, prompted by Daniel Trabue’s tales about his and what they suffered, before England got rid of them (after they fled from France) by consigning them to a life of hardship and probable death, settling that British colony across the ocean.

“I’m just going to quote a few short parts, so you can get the drift. The editors retained much of Daniel’s original spelling (certainly adds to its charm and also avers its authenticity). Footnotes to additional detail and insight are scattered throughout, but I’m not including those here.

“You don’t want to miss his touching story about how his ancestral grandmother turned ‘heretick’ in that she decided to leave the Catholic religion and was subjected to ‘inquisitors’ coming, while her still-faithful, new husband was away. Here’s part of the story, as Daniel tells how she saw the priest and his inquisitors coming. ‘She prayed to Jesus christ the mighty God to be with her in this time of great need and strengthen her and Direct her what to Do. She said it came to her not to Deny her savior. [Another of his stories well worth reading-I won’t ruin it for you.]

“I recently sent you lists, including two Lankfords, who signed the “Oath” described by Daniel Trabue, as part of his commentary on the times:

“‘In the Same year 1774 their was an Indian war against the shawnees and Governor Dunmore went out him self. My Brother Jams went with Dunmore as a Lieuftenant. He raised some of his men in our county. They had Cockades of red ribond. I admired the looks of these soldiers so much I would have been glad to have went with them if I had been old enough. When brother James and the solders came home they told us about the battle at the mouth of the Kenoway [Kenawha] on the 10 of October, etc. They also told us about Kentucky, a new Decovered wonderfull country. Brother James said the govenor said we was certain of a war with Britan, and their was nothing elce talked about scircely but the war.

“‘Our church parson and Merchants was mostly schoch men and Inglish. I recolect I heard our parson tell my father that the people was Deluded by some of their leaders. They was not only rong but fools. The people wuld Die like rotten sheep for the lack of salt. And what would they Do for Iron etc., powder etc.? He further stated their was as many men in the City of london as we had in north America. He further stated that the Indians was alreadey ingaged on the King’s side by Dunmore and other of the king’s officers and that the negros would also rise in Rebelion, and if the people Did Rebel they would all be subdued and Defeated and all the leaders would be hung and every one that had any hand in it would suffer much by high fines and Taxes, etc.

“‘There was meetings Called to consult about the war. Their was Fast Days appointed. The baptist and Prespeterums was ancious for the war. Then it was that most of the men had hunting shirts and had “Lirbety” marked on their hunting shirts and bucks’ tails in their hats. And the Mejority of the people said, ‘We will fight for our lirbety.’

“‘Their was a law passed that every one shoud take an Oath to our cause which was called the test Oath or leave the country by some given Day. Some left the country. Others that would not leave the country and would talk in favour of the king was handled very roughly. Some was tard and feathered.’

“On having to fight Indians, near the Cumberland Gap:

“‘When I was returnd from going before and others in our places, I told my brother about the 3 Trails [of Indian tracks-shb] and told him my fear about the quanity of Indians. He said he had paid perticular attention to the sighn and he Did not think their was more Indians than white men. He said we all had good guns and powder and we could beat them if we could git the first fire, unless they was Greatly over our number and he Did not think they was. And he said the main thing was to have a good resolution.

“‘I was Giting very fraid we would be Defeeted, and as we went on I talked some with Lucust again. He still talked the same way of killing several of them. I for my part began to feel chikinhearted I was afraid I should be killed in this Drary howling Wilderness but I never mentioned it to any one. I thought if we come in contact with the indians I would keep behind or in the reare , but I thought that would not Do as I might be called a coward. I thought, “I wish I culd have courage like Lucust. I would be glad.” Mr. Lucaust was my main Dependence and a poor Dependence he was. I then wished I was back in Old Virginia.” [Great story, how that Indian battle played out-shb.]

About Easter Sunday and “no Ardent sperrets” in Kentucky, p. 47:

“‘My Brother James expected to have found some of his men hear but it was not so. 2 of his men Did go their-to wit, Thomas Brooks and William Brooks. And they went with Col. Boon to the Blue Licks to make Salt and the Indeans took them all Prisoners-to wit, 27 men including Col. Boon. Some of Brother James’ Men was Gone to Logan’s Fort. We concluded to go to Logan’s fort in a few Days but we would stay hear and rest a while.

“‘We had to turn our horses in the woods. And the very next Day when James and my self was hunting our horses not fair from the fort, wee killed a very fine Deer and some of our company killed Deer, Turkeys, etc.

“‘The people in the fort was remarkable kind and hospetable to us with what they had. But I thought it was hard times-no bred, no salt, no vegetables, no fruit of any kind, no Ardent sperrets, indeed nothing but meet. Yet we was well off to what we was in the wilderness before we got hear. The sunday before I got hear I was so hungry that if mony could have got it I think I would have gave $10 or 20 for one Diet. It was easter sunday and that was a noted Day in Old Virginia, and I thought, “If I was only their how I would eat.” But I Don’t Doubt but it was an advantage to us to suffer for food on the Road as the fair we now have will Do, as hunger is the best of sause.’

“I doubt any of us enjoyed “the best of sause” this Easter, but Daniel Trabue’s account certainly added flavor to our day and helped me appreciate our blessing to worship in an atmosphere of freedom and tolerance. Here we enjoyed a glorious spring day (after many dark, snowy days). All spring bore witness of our hope, through our Savior’s love and grace, for a resurrection.

“I witnessed what seemed to be a miracle, in that an autistic boy in my Primary class, who has been the subject of many fervent prayers, seemed to have a resurrection of mind and spirit in the middle of our class, as he asked questions and responded in our discussion about Jesus, the Atonement, and the resurrection we can hope for, because of Him.

“As though that were not enough, in our closing Primary ‘sharing time’ exercises, he embarked on retelling a story I told earlier, in class, with accompanying picture (of how Jesus called the apostles, and they dropped their nets to follow Him). He excitedly told this story before all the Primary, in response to a question from our Primary President, who was leading the discussion. He told it in such a fervent and unusually clear, communiative manner, I saw it as a manifestation of the Spirit (in a way that left many of us in tears and his classmates with astonished looks on their faces). Our lesson in class had been about Christ’s power to heal and such healings through His power today.

“I read a book last week by a former LDS bishop and friend of my visit teacher (who loaned it to me) about his son, Jamie, who was autistic. This book helped me decide to accept my autistic Primary child as he is and not try to make a ‘project’ of teaching him (which is my bent, since one of my jobs when I taught at Fox Meadow Elementary School in Scarsdale, NY was to tutor a fifth grade autistic child, in their reading skills lab). So just as I (via an epipheny that came to me, while reading about a hiking incident with Jamie in this book) ‘accept’ that things are not likely to change with this boy in my Primary class, and realize that this is all right, he demonstrates the power of the Spirit, in such dramatic fashion. The joy in teaching Primary, of course, is what these incredible children (and the Spirit through them) teach me, their so often faltering ‘teacher.’

“Good night and ‘hope you, too, had a meaningful day, as did we,

“Sherlene” -shb 17 Apr 2006

CAME THROUGH THE CUMBERLAND GAP: See photos taken and forwarded to shb, by descendant John Robert or “Whetstone Bob” Langford, 4 July 2006, as attached to Stephen Langford’s media file.  Included is a photo of the entrance to the one-mile tunnel that now goes through the Cumberland Gap, along with five additional photos of spectacular area scenery. –shb 4 July 2006

FATHER NOT THE BENJAMIN LANGFORD, OR “PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY” BEN, WHO WAS IN VIRGINIA’S GENERAL ASSEMBLY.  For a while we found good reason to think “Pitt Ben,” of Virginia’s General Assembly might be Mt. Vernon settler Stephen Langford’s father.  However, on obtaining signatures of Pittsylvania Ben’s son Stephen (courtesy of Terry Smith) and also a signature of Mt. Vernon’s Stephen (courtesy of Jeff Renner), my idea to compare the two was put to the test.  To our disappointment, there was not even a close match. We forwarded samples to all in the family and several researchers and all agreed that these were two totally different hands. Ironically, the signature of Mt. Vernon’s Stephen is much more sophisticated than is that of the son of Assemblyman Pitt Ben’s, which looks much more rustic (see Mt. Vernon Stephen’s media file for samples of both signatures and compare for yourself).  We were glad to get this laid to rest before the Langford reunion, organized by Rockcastle Stephen’s branch, and held in Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle County, Kentucky, this May 27, 2007 (see correspondence regarding this, below).  –shb

MT. VERNON STEPHEN IS A BROTHER TO MY ANCESTOR, JOSEPH LANGFORD? From e-response by Shiron Wordsworth to shb, 3 Feb 2006: It’s logical to assume a relationship between Joseph and Stephen, but we can’t even guess correctly until more work is done . . . . I haven’t found any source that says that Joseph had a brother named Stephen, but I’ve come across several that say that Benjamin had a son named Stephen. There’s this to consider, too. If Joseph is older than what common lore says, Stephen might be Joseph’s son by a first marriage. That too is wild speculation. But I think that all those Virginia birth years for the Langfords need to be rethought. I think those Langfords were around longer than we suspected. Certainly now it’s beyond doubt that Rockcastle’s Stephen was born, at the very least, 22 years before what genealogies say.”  –shb

STEPHEN NOT A BROTHER OF WALKER OR JOSEPH, NOR A SON OF ASSEMBLYMAN BEN LANKFORD.  Early court records in Rockcastle County burned, so we scratch for evidence where we can find it. It was once thought that Stephen, an early settler in Mt. Vernon, in Rockcastle County, Kentucky, was a brother of Walker Langford, fourth maternal great-grandfather of shb, but that has since been discounted. For a while we thought Stephen was a contemporary of Walker’s father, Joseph Lankford, purported ancestor of shb, with possibility that Stephen and Joseph were brothers. Other evidence inspired a theory that Stephen was the son of Benjamin Lankford, of Pittsylvania County, Virginia (we call him “Pitt Ben”), who served in Virginia’s General Assembly (some correspondence about that, at end of these notes). Another theory was that my ancestor, Joseph Lankford, of Crab Orchard, Lincoln, Kentucky, may have been a brother of Assemblyman Benjamin, so that this Stephen Lankford who settled Mt. Vernon would then be my Joseph’s nephew, but these ideas have been discounted.

When I asked Shiron, 30 Jan 2006, if she still thinks the Stephen who married Lois Mullins is her ancestor, she replied: “We assume that he is my ancestor. We think Liberty was Robert’s son [Robert was named in the 1811 court case Shi just told us about, as a son of Benjamin, son of Stephen–shb]. Rockcastle County histories say so, but there is no paper trail. Tip Langford thought so and filled my grandmother’s ears with tales of Indians, the Wilderness Road, Langford Station, etc. etc. But family tales are not a documented paper trail. The good news is that the Langford who is a documented descendant says that his family still tells tales about Tip Langford, High Sheriff of Rockcastle County, and that they all knew they were related to him. Now, can we prove that? I can only hope. Stephen’s documented descendant [referring, I think, to “Colonel Whetstone Bob Langford–shb] talked to me on the phone last night. He’s offered to adopt me, if all else fails. God is good!” –shb 31 Jan 2006

FAMILY FROM NORTH CAROLINA?  At the recent BYU Computerized Genealogy Conference, I talked with Barbara Renick, who has ancestors from Pulaski County.  She thought I should take a look at “hanging files” in the basement of the Pulaski County Public Library, put there by the Pulaski County Historical Society, as she found some great material there.  I mentioned that to Jeff Renner, local historian and featured speaker at the Stephen Langford Memorial Reunion, May 2007, at Mt. Vernon.  Jeff did not let grass grow under his feet–was there in a couple of days (advises me that the Historical Society is located in the basement of the County Library–they did not just donate some files there).  He writes:

“Sherlene (and everyone else),

“I went to the Pulaski Historical Society today and looked in the Langford/Lankford file. There is nothing in it that sheds any light on the current issues. In fact, I don’t even recall seeing Joseph or Walker mentioned. Almost everything–and there wasn’t much info at all–concerned ‘Lick Creek’ Stephen and his family, a good part of it was queries concerning his son Reuben. I found nothing we didn’t already know.

“The only small tidbit was a line on an undated and unsourced genealogy sheet, from an unknown person, that said Stephen (of Lick Creek) was from North Carolina. We know that’s not exactly true but it could have meant Stephen’s family/father was from NC, which does seem to have some basis in fact.

“They have a book (of genealogy) on Fielding Langford and his descendants [“Progenitors and Descendants of Fielding Langford,” compiled by my mother, Ida-Rose Langford Hall–shb] but I’m assuming y’all have that info.

“That’s it.

“Jeff”  –shb 20 Mar 2007

POSSIBLE MIGRATION TRAIL:  From e-letter by Jeff Renner, 25 Nov 2007:  “The more I look at some of this, the more I believe Mt. Vernon Stephen moved from South Carolina to North Carolina to Kentucky.”  –shb 26 Nov 2007

STEPHEN’S DEEP ROCKCASTLE ROOTS:  Since the above earlier notes, Shiron Wordsworth has become convinced that the Stephen who was an early settler in Mt. Vernon is, indeed, the Stephen mentioned in the 1811 court case and, therefore, her and Bob Langford’s ancestor. I asked how she could be so sure that Stephen’s heirs didn’t skip the area (or even the state, as did my folks), as soon as they got their inheritance, and and got this response, 10 Oct 2006:

“Here’s the evidence that we have that Stephen’s ancestors remained in Rockcastle, Pulaski, and Laurel counties.

“Lois Langford, who married Stephen Langford in 1807, is the only Lois Langford of record in Rockcastle, and tax records said she administered his estate for his heirs, in particular his youngest son, Henry. Gen. Wm. Smith was made guardian for Stephen’s heirs. He took with him to the War of 1812, the only two Langfords named Stephen and Robert living in the area at that time. Stephen and Robert Langford were listed as Stephen’s heirs in 1811. The company was mustered in Rockcastle. Since there is only one Stephen and one Robert Langford in Pulaski and Rockcastle in 1812, who could the Langfords be that went to war with Gen. Smith except the two young men for whom he was appointed guardian?

“We have more than one lawsuit involving the heirs of Stephen Langford. The heirs listed bear the same names as ancestors that were specifically known to be our ancestors before the legal documents ever surfaced. We have land records and tax records that say that Stephen’s heirs stayed in the area. The land they lived on was once part of his land holdings. We have at least three independent history books that say that they remained in that area, all written by someone other than a Langford. We have archive newspapers that confirm Stephen’s heirs in Rockcastle. We have an independent researcher who does white gloved research with original documents who has no doubt whatsoever that the Rockcastle and Pulaski Langfords belonged to Stephen.

“We have Langfords that we know are ‘ours’ living in Langford Station long after Stephen died. Even Rockcastle’s earliest historian, James Maret, who came of age when Stephen’s grandchildren were still alive, agrees that these Langfords were descendents of Stephen. And he was a Democrat. 😉

“We have a family oral tradition that never altered for generations that insisted that these people were Stephen’s heirs. If they weren’t Stephen’s heirs, then a whole army of alien Langfords had to have moved into the area and just coincidentally decided to move on to land Stephen once owned. And they had to have been named exactly as Stephen’s heirs were named. What are the odds of that happening?

“Now, granted, oral tradition needs independent verification. A case in point just recently would be the gun ports in Langford Station that Tip Langford featured in the stories of his grandfather named Stephen Langford who owned the tavern on the Wilderness Road. Grandmom claimed to have seen them. Recently David Owens mentioned he had seen those gun ports when logs from Langford Station were used in a local tourist attraction. You can’t take this to court as legal evidence, but it certainly gives support to family oral tradition. If Tip was right about the gunports, maybe he was right about his grandfather, Stephen
Langford, too.” –shb 12 Oct 2006

“SWIMMIN’ IN THE GENE POOL”: From e-letter by Shiron Wordsworth, answering Ann Langford, who found two Rebecca Joneses marrying Langfords, Sep 2006: “The state of Virginia should be hanged, drawn, and quartered because of its naming patterns. It’s bad enough that they repeated names in lines of direct descent, but that they should tie cousins together laterally is beyond bearing!

“You can bet that Rebecca Jones and Rebecca P. Jones are kin somehow. Maybe they are cousins. And just to add insult to injury they probably married gentlemen who are also cousins.

“I found mention of a Rebecca Jones in Rockcastle County who married David Gentry, son of Richard and Jestin Hedgepeth Gentry. Richard Gentry was a veteran of the Revolution. It looks as though this Rebecca is another Rebecca Jones in Rockcastle to contend with!

“I have a great-aunt and a great-uncle, Dona and Pinkney Langford (siblings) who married Singletons who were…ta-da!… brother and sister.

“Combine this with the very good indication that the original Stephen in Kentucky married first a Singleton, and it becomes almost a miracle of God’s grace that anyone could live successfully in the gene pool let alone swim in it.

“But they did.

“Langford genes must be incredible because all the Langfords I know are smart.” –shb 27 Sep 2006

KEEPING LAND BUYS OF EARLY MT. VERNON SETTLER STEPHEN (“MT. VERNON STEPHEN”) AND HIS GRANDSON, “FLINTLOCK” STEPHEN, STRAIGHT.  From letter of Jeff Renner to shb, 24 Jan 2008:  “1. All land references to Stephen Langford prior to 1818 are to Mt. Vernon Stephen. One of his daughters, Mary (Polly) was married to John Warren.” [Note:  John Warren was a brother of Charles Warren, Jr., both brothers of my ancestor, Mary/Polly, who m. Walker Lankford–shb.]

MORE ON 1811 LAWSUIT/STEPHEN’S DESCENDANCY OUTLINED: From e-note by Shi Wordsworth, answering questions from Ann Langford, one of Stephen’s ancestors, who is newly engaged in “the Search.”

“Here’s what the tree looks like beginning with the first Stephen in Kentucky. These early relationships through his son, Benjamin, are verified by the lawsuit against Stephen Langford brought by the heirs of Valentine Harmon in 1811, in Lincoln County, Kentucky. When the lawsuit was first filed in February of 1811, the original Stephen was still alive. In May of that same year, the lawsuit reverts to his heirs. So we know that the original Stephen died sometime between February and May of 1811. The two daughters of the original Stephen that are listed below are not mentioned as Stephen’s heirs in this lawsuit, but we know from a later lawsuit and from a marriage bond signed by Stephen that he did, in fact, have these two daughters.

“I’ve included my descent from Robert in the hopes that it will help you see how we may be related, Ann. That Robert is Liberty Langford’s father was confirmed by Rockcastle’s historian, John Lair, in his book that documents the county’s history. Added to the fact that Tip Langford, Liberty’s son, stated in no uncertain terms that he and his brother (my great-grandfather), Elza Langford, were direct descendants of Rockcastle’s original settler and that both Liberty and his son,Tip, lived at various times in the house known as Langford Station, I’m prepared now to state that as fact. If the Benjamin who is also the son of Robert Langford is your grandfather, Ann, then that’s how you and I are cousins [DNA has since shown that they are cousins–shb].

“1. Stephen Langford m. Unknown Singleton
2. Benjamin Langford b. about 1767, m. Nancy Peyton 1787, Lincoln Co., KY/Va
3. Stephen b. 1788, m. Caty Wyndham (Bob’s grandparents)
3. Robert Langford b. 1790, m. Frances Head
4. Liberty Langford m. Sarah (Sally) unknown
5. James H. Langford b. in 1837, m. Mary Ann Dameron
6. R. Elza Langford b. 13 Jan. 1876, d. 11 July 1918
7. Mary Ann Langford B. 12 Feb. 1912, d. 29 Sept 1993 (my grandmother)
4. Benjamin Langford (your grandfather, Ann?)
4. Jonathan Langford b. 5 Sept. 1820, d. 25 Sept. 1852, elected to legislature in 1849
3. Jonathan Langford
3. Stacy Langford
3. Matilda Langford
2. Elizabeth Langford m. John Isham Gentry
2. Mary Langford

“1. Stephen Langford m2. Lois Mullins (this is Rockcastle’s original Stephen again)
2. Henry S. Langford b. 1808

“We have histories of the county that confirm these relationships, census records, archive newspaper accounts, and family tradition that support what I have given you here. Of course I didn’t take the time to fill in all the dates or list all of Liberty’s children or the other children of each of Stephen’s heirs. But what you have here is verifiable in independent sources. And I’ll leave it to Bob to list his descendents from Robert’s brother, Stephen, if you can talk him into doing that.

“There are tons of Langford details to fill in about most of the folks listed above, but if you keep this descent handy, the stories will make more sense.

“Hope this helps!

“Shi” –shb 15 Sep 2006

COUNTIES WHERE STEPHEN OWNED LAND:  E-letter from Shi Wordsworth, 1 Oct 2006: “I know of these counties where he [“Rockastle Stephen 1″–shb] owned land: Laurel, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Madison, Witley, Casey, Ohio, Knox, and, of all places, far away Barren County. There may be more counties that I don’t know about.” –shb 2 Oct 2006

1779–LAND IN BURKE COUNTY, TOO? Burke County, North Carolina Land Records 1779-1790 (and Important Miscellaneous Records 1777-1800, Vol. II, abstracted, compiled and indexed by Edith Warren Huggins (Raleigh, North Carolina: Carolina Copy Center, 1981, searched at the Harold B. Lee Library, BYU, Provo, Utah, by shb, 11 Oct 2006, p. vi. “In 1789 part of Burke County was annexed to Wilkes County . . . . In 1791 Buncome County was formed from both Burke ad Rutherford Counties . . . ., p. 2: #1290, p. 425, STEPHEN LANGFORD, 100 acres including upper forks of Little broad River on north fork including lick logs and the Rich Mountain. Entered 2 Jan. 1779. Discontinued. [Next line, but same entry–shb]: ROBERT KIRKPATRICK, 150 acres head of the ‘War fork of Mulberry.’ (No date).” Also, p. 62: “#19, JOHN SMITH, 100 acres on first little broad river joining LANGFORDS upper line including Smiths field for Complement. Entered 2 Sept. 1784.” –shb 19 Oct 2006

POSSIBLE MIGRATION ROUTES: I wrote John Robert or “Bob” Langford, a descendant of Stephen Langford, first settler of Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle, Ketnucky, asking to know more about a photo he took and sent of a Tennessee marker, honoring early settlers, including a Joseph Kinkead (in media file of my ancestor, Capt. John Kincaid). His response: “This marker is beside U.S. Hwy 11W in Mt. Carmel, TN, about 5 miles west of Kingsport, TN. During this period of time, frontier pioneers heading for Kentucky, gathered up at The Long Island of The Holston river at what is now Kingsport, to wait for Daniel Boone to come by and guide them into the wilderness or for Capt John Donelson to take them down river on flatboats to Nashville. And, I imagine that a great many of them followed what is called The Great Indian Path, which ran from Bristol, TN/VA through Kingsport, Mt. Carmel and Church Hill down close to what is now called Bean Station, Tn before turning north toward Cumberland Gap.

“All of this area around here is laced with this type of history. Many, many historical figures were in this area, including Daniel Boone, Capt John Donelson, Rev. Samuel Doak, John Sevier, and later on Presidents Andrew Johnson and Andrew Jackson, etc., etc. The list is endless.”

Also, another correspondent of Bob’s wrote, about the same marker: “Would loved to have seen that old house in its day. Unless I’m mistaken, my Whitakers migrated from NC through Carter Co., TN and lived there for a while before coming on to KY. I keep meaning to go there and do some research, but never have made it.”

Bob’s response: “Hazel, I’ll send you a copy of an email I just sent to Sherlene about this. I guess most of the early settlers migrated south and west from Virginia and states farther north. Many of them crossed the mountains from N.C. into Tennessee through the gap at what is now Boone, N.C. All who came that way stopped at the Fort at Sycamore Shoals, present day Elizabethton, Tn, in Carter county. From there, a great many of them went on to the Long Island of the Holston, at present day Kingsport, to wait for Daniel Boone, or another guide, to take them into the wilderness.

“Do a google search for Sycamore Shoals. You will find it very interesting. Much history there. There is a National Park there at Sycamore Shoals with a replica of the original fort and there’s always some activities going on, especially this time of the year. I would highly recommend a visit. You’ll be glad you did. There’s also a beautiful covered bridge there in Elizabethton, as well as the Carter Mansion, the first frame house built in Tennessee. Elizabethton is located at the foothills of the mountains. Beautiful scenery. Bob” –shb 23 Oct 2006

1782–STEPHEN LANGFORD LAND BORDERS THAT OF WILLIAM WHITLEY.  Letter to Langfords, accompanied by his photos, as attached to Mt. Vernon Stephen’s media file, from John Robert or “Bob” Langford, 30 Apr 2007: “Scenes around the William Whitley house at Crab Orchard (14 miles west of Mt. Vernon)

“I believe you can see the racetrack behind the monument to Sportsman’s Hill.  Spectators could stand on that knoll and watch the horses as they ran around.

“Stephen Langford had a house and property that joined William Whitley when he first moved to Kentucky about 1782. [Note:  Dan and I were in hurry, getting from Crab Orchard to the Louisville airport, so had to pass up signs directing us to the William Whitley farm, there in Lincoln County, Kentucky.  Of interest to us is the fact that Crab Orchard is where my ancestor, Fielding Langford was born to Walker and Mary/Polly (Warren) Langford, so we know they lived close to Stephen Langford land that adjoined the William Whitley farm. We soon came to a sign for Stanford.  Local Pulaski County historian, Jeff Renner, featured speaker at the Stephen Langford Memorial Reunion, in Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle County, KY, held on May 27, 2007 (that we were there attending), told us he found a deed involving the widowed Mary (wife of Joseph Lankford) for land she held, near Rowland, which we were told was along our road from Crab Orchard and the Whitley farm, located farther up the road, just before Stanford (we saw no sign for Rowland, but could see it on the map).  So, the fact that Joseph (Mary), Stephen, and Walker Langford held land in Lincoln County, before Walker and Stephen’s son, Benjamin, moved to Pulaski County, once more bears witness to a relationship of all these Langfords, though we have not yet been able to prove just how they connected–shb.] [In a subsequent note, Jeff said he believed he read somewhere that the widowed Mary Lankford later married a Charles Gatliff–interesting because Joseph and Mary had a daughter, Mary/Polly, who married James Gatliff.  Was this James Charles’ son?–shb.]

“Whitley’s house has been restored to immaculate condition. It’s open Tues thru Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nice place to visit on Saturday before the Reunion. And, Stanford, Kentucky’s second oldest town, home of Kentucky’s first Governor, Isaac Shelby and site of the first courthouse west of the Alleghenies, is only 11 miles further west on Hwy. 150.

“Wish these pictures were clearer so you could read all of the writing on that Sportsman’s Hill monument. The light just wouldn’t cooperate.

“Bob”  –shb 30 Apr 2007

1792–KENTUCKY BECAME A STATE. COUNTY BACKGROUND/FORMATION: As outlined on Rootsweb, site accessed 15 Sep 2006, by shb: “Former VA Counties, now in KY . . . Kentucky Co, VA, was formed in 1776 from the “soon to become extinct” Fincastle County. In 1780, Kentucky Co itself became extinct when it was divided into three parts forming Fayette, Jefferson, and Lincoln Counties. In 1785, Nelson Co was formed from Jefferson Co. In 1786, Madison and Mercer Counties were formed from Lincoln Co, AND Bourbon Co was formed from Fayette Co. In 1789, Mason Co was formed from Bourbon Co AND Woodford Co was formed from Fayette Co. There were political maneuverings and frequent proposals to split this region out from Virginia’s control. On 18 December 1789, the General Assembly of Virginia passed an act to allow Kentucky to apply for statehood, and on 1 Jun 1792, Kentucky’s nine counties became a state.

“Virginia “Re-uses” County Names – Of these nine “original” Kentucky Counties, six had their names re-used by Virginia in the formation of new counties:

* Fayette: formed in 1831, became part of WV in 1863.
* Jefferson: formed in 1801, became part of WV in 1863. [This was stompin’ grounds for my William Hall (m. Hannah Richardson) ancestor and his family–shb.]
* Madison: formed in 1792 from Culpeper Co.
* Mason: formed in 1804, became part of WV in 1863.

* Mercer: formed in 1837, became part of WV in 1863.
* Nelson: formed in 1807 from Amherst Co.

Also, Lincoln County’s name was re-used, but by WV in 1867.” –shb 15 Sep 2006

DESCRIPTION OF EARLY KENTUCKY: Response by Shiron Wordsworth to shb’s “Easter Sunday” letter, above, received 17 Apr 2006:

“Daniel Trabue is a joy and a wonder, isn’t he? His quaint spelling makes the frontier come alive.

“I like the mention of the Presperterums. The idea of ‘lirbety’ was great, too! And sometimes I feel ‘tard,’ although I’ve never been feathered.

“Did you get the impression that Trabue was the Forest Gump of his generation? He met everyone from Boone to Ben Logan and James Harrod. For crying out loud, he even saw ‘Corn Wallis’ surrender at Yorktown!

“Trabue’s book made me pull out a couple of Janice Holt Giles’ fictional accounts of the frontier. Just finished Hannah Fowler and have started The Kentuckians. She wrote fiction, but she paid incredible attention to historical accuracy. These are a great follow up to Daniel Trabue’s first person account. They, too, make the Kentucky frontier live again.

“Here’s a description of Kentucky from her book The Kentuckians.

“Daniel Boone had made a few trips and had come back with such tales of the country as to make all who listened to him eager to see it. Never, he said, had he seen such a land. The trees were big and thick and clustered in mighty forests, the cane in the flat lands grew taller than a man’s head, there was such a plenty of game that a man could take skins by the thousands instead of the hundreds we were used to. He said the land was watered by free-flowing springs dotted all over, and with creeks and streams and rivers on every hand. He said the meadows were matted with rye grass and clover and pea vines up to a man’s knees, and all about were sweet-smelling blossoms, wild fruits and berries, nuts, persimmons and pawpaws. And there was always the song of birds, for, he said, there were more birds in Kentucky than he’d ever dreamed of seeing. Daniel called it the Garden of Eden, and it was. It still is, for look where you will there is no other land like Kentucky. There’s no place as green and fair, no place as grand and sightly, and in all Kentucky, there’s no place as sweet as this country about the headwaters of the Green River.

“‘Giles is absolutely right. “…for look where you will, there is no other land like Kentucky.'”

“Reading this brought a tear to my eye and a terrible case of homesickness. More importantly, reading this made me see Kentucky the way Stephen and Joseph must have first seen the land.

“The sun does, indeed, shine bright on our old Kentucky home!

“PS. In reading the footnotes, did you catch the fact that there was a real Indian threat in what would become Rockcastle in the year 1785? Our Langfords had been there for at least three years by that date! No wonder Langford Station was built with portholes for shooting at Indians!” -shb 21 Apr 2006

IMPORTANT ROLE SETTING EARLY KENTUCKY ROADS: E-letter to shb, 22 Apr 2006, from Shiron Wordsworth:

“Girlfriend, did I ever have a treat this weekend. And the awful part of this good news is that I can’t give you details. But even though I can’t, I want you to know what you have to look forward to.

“The gentleman who is writing a book on the old trails into Kentucky let me have a sneak preview of his manuscript. He agreed that I could tell friends and relatives that I thought they had an amazing treat in store for them, but he wants no details out before he’s ready for publication. I can understand his position. But it’s so hard not to shout it from rooftops.
What he did allow me to tell you is that Stephen Langford is chronicled as playing a significant role in those early roads and in settlement history. For the first time he will take his place as someone of note among those early Kentuckians. He moves among recognizable names from that era.

“I can also tell you that the scholarship that is the foundation of this work is just about the most impressive I’ve ever seen. Absolutely everything is documented using original land grants, journals, diaries, and other documents from that time period. It’s hard to see how anyone can refute this man’s assertions.

“Sherlene, I did the Virginia Reel while singing ‘My Old Kentucky Home’ as I read that copy. I thought about doing a back flip, but at my age, it didn’t seem a wise course to follow.

“One of these days, the Langfords of Rockcastle and Pulaski are going to shine brighter than brand new pennies!

“You betcha!

“Shi” –shb 22 Apr 2006 [Note: Excerpt from Shi’s letter to shb, 3 July 2006: “This house [referring to a photo my mother took of Stephen1’s white house in Mt. Vernon-shb] is the one that was an inn on the Wilderness Road. Stephen1 donated the original 50 acres for the town that became Mt. Vernon. He also rerouted a good portion of what became known as the Wilderness Road. In old surveys there are references to ‘Langford’s New Trace’ which refer to Stephen’s career as a road builder.” -shb 4 Jul 2006

COURSE OF THE WILDERNESS TRAIL.  E-response from Jeff Renner, 1 May 2007:  “I’m not intending to start anything with the following, but I can’t let the Chestnut Ridge/Wilderness Road thing go by without comment; it’s one of the topics I’ll be talking about at the [Langford] reunion [to be held in Mt. Vernon, May 27 2007, at which Mr. Renner is the featured speaker–shb] and one of the things that got me started writing the new Wilderness Road book.

“I know it’s been published (most notably by Neal O. Hammon) that the original road went up a branch near Livingston to Sand Hill to Chestnut Ridge, but that’s simply not correct. I don’t know how else to say it [I had sent him correspondence from someone who lived on Chestnut Ridge and believed the original Wilderness Road went up there–shb.]  The original trace followed the basic course of Skeggs Creek, the second version made use of the East Fork of Skeggs, and the third–what we think of as the Wilderness Road–used the basic old US 25 corridor. There is plenty of evidence of the roads along these routes in the 1780s and 1790s; I’ve never found any proof of a road of that era on the ridgetop.

“Jeff”  –shb 1 May 2007 [I forwarded this to all who got earlier communications–shb.]

MORE ABOUT COURSE OF THE WILDERNESS ROAD.  Response from David Owens, 2 May 2007:  “Sherlene, I think the confusion comes from several accounts calling different early routes The Wilderness Road. The term Wilderness Road wasn’t used (I don’t have access to my library) until legislation was introducted to construct a wagon road into the Bluegrass Region. I have always understood that Skegg’s Trace was the original pathway. The wagon road which became known as the Wilderness Road left the path of Skegg’s Trace somewhere at Hazel Patch with Skeggs Trace being the left fork that crossed the Rockcastle River and followed Skegg Creek–supposedly named because Henry Skeggs followed a buffalo along the creek. The right fork of the main branch of the wagon road from Hazel Patch went up the south side of Wildcat Mountain and down the north side and forded the Rockcastle River at the Lower Rockcastle Ford (The Upper Ford was at Cruzes’ Ferry–The State Road) at a place called Fish Point–later changed to Livingston with the coming of the Railroad. Here the road forked again with the main branch (left fork) of the wagon road going up Sand Hill (also called the high road) while the right fork (middle road) followed the north side of Roundstone Creek (close to the current US 25 Route) to Hackney Corner’s at the mouth of where Calloway Branch enties into Roundstone. Here that road forked. The left fork went up Calloway holler (middle road) where it intersected the high road at chestnutridge near the old Chestnutridge School House. The right fork traveled due north and was called the low road–it went through McHargue Springs that followed the old Dixie Boone Highway–currently US 25 and intersected both the High & Middle roads where the new Chestnutridge School House stood. Hope this might help. David”  –shb 2 May 2007

BEF. 1793 – AT LEAST 1806–STEPHEN LANGFORD MADE A CONTRACT WITH ELIZABETH ROSS BROWN, HIS “CONCUBINE,” WHO WAS AT LEAST FORTY-FIVE YEARS YOUNGER THAN HE.   E-letter, 6 Mar 2008, from local researcher, Jeff Renner, to Bob Langford and Shi Wordsworth, then forwarded to me (shb) by Bob:  “Guys, I went back to Frankfort to tie up loose ends before I finished the Mt. Vernon book, and I’m glad I did. [He’s been doing research on the Wilderness Road and is including a section about the Langfords, since Mt. Vernon Stephen was very involved with area road development–shb],

“Among the things found was that Stephen had a live-in girlfriend/business partner from before 1793 until at least 1806. Her name was Elizabeth Ross Brown and she and Stephen entered into an arrangement in 1793 for him to pay her 100 pounds per year for ‘services’ and many household items, including two slaves (which became three later). Elizabeth is called a ‘concubine’ in the lawsuit. No mention is made of Stephen’s wife.

“It was said they lived together for several years (maybe seven, I’m not sure yet) before 1793. That means, presumably, that the Singleton wife died before Stephen’s move to Rockcastle. The whole arrangement was spelled out and not hidden, witnessed, it seems, by perhaps Elizabeth’s sister. In 1799, Stephen and Elizabeth, jointly, even sold two of the slaves to Benjamin Langford.

“Elizabeth was married to Benjamin Brown in 1785 in Lincoln. There was some dispute over whether he was dead in 1793 or not.

“Interestingly, the lawsuit, which was filed after Stephen’s death and wanted Elizabeth’s original contribution to the partnership returned to her estate (the household goods and slaves, or the value thereof) was filed about 1812 by Isham Gentry and John Langford, acting as administrators of Elizabeth’s estate. A deposition makes it clear Stephen and Elizabeth had children, although they are not named. While the dates may be problematic, this could account for the parentage of Elizabeth Langford Gentry and John and Thomas (and maybe Mary Langford Warren). [Note from Sherlene:  Mary Langford married a son of Charles Warren, and my ancestor, Walker Langford, b. abt. 1769, supposedly in Halifax County, Virginia, married Mary/Polly, a daughter of Charles. I first hoped my Walker might be Mary’s brother, but dates Jeff since brought to light discount this possibility, since Walker was born before Elizabeth or “Betsy” Ross Brown.  It would also explain why Mary and probably first-siblings John, Thomas, and Elizabeth, were not listed as heirs, since any children from a non-marriage like this would not be considered as such by a court.]

“I’m still processing all this and going through it, so I don’t have many answers or organized thoughts. But it sure looks like Langford’s Station owes a considerable debt to Elizabeth Brown.

“This is also going to require some re-writes in my story.
Jeff”  –shb 6 Mar 2008 [Bob’s response, forwarded with Jeff’s letter, to shb]:

From: Bob Langford to Jeff and Shi
Sent: Thursday, March 06, 2008 7:01 PM
Subject: Re: Stephen had a girlfriend

“Wow! Is this a revelation! I had seen nothing previously that hinted at this, had you? Please keep me posted on this. This could lead to all sorts of DNA anomalies in the
genealogy of Rockcastle County descendants.

“Jeff, I still haven’t been able to read your manuscript. Had cataract surgery on Feb. 14
and just got my prescription for new glasses Tuesday. Hope to have them by tomorrow
and be able to do some serious reading.

“Thanks for sending me this new bombshell. Kinda explains why them old Langfords
are trying so hard to stay hidden. Also explains a thing or two about the trouble Benjamin
and some of Stephen’s other descendants had with their women, doesn’t it? They came
by it naturally.

“Bob”  [Sherlene’s response to Bob and Jeff, same evening of 6 Mar 2008]:

“Well, for LANDS SAKES! Jeff, you are such an incredible blessing! Bob and Shi, thank you for sharing this!

“‘Never been so glad to hear about a concubine in all my life! It just might explain my Walker’s roots, don’t you think?

“I wrote a note to myself, at one point, that I should keep an eye out for Browns, as connected to our Langfords, but do you think I can remember what made me think that? I am going to go back over census and other records of our Langfords and see where that came from (if I find, will send later). [Note:  They were right here, in Stephen’s notes–see 1793 entries, below, including Brown connections to Joseph Langford and Fielding Langford, which I did copy over and send to Jeff, Bob, Shi, and to our branch of Walker Lankford descendants–shb.]  Wouldn’t it be something if my Walker called himself ‘Langford,’ but was really an illeg. Brown? Did officially documented concumbines get to name their children ‘Langford,’ even if they weren’t legal heirs? IF Stephen’s daughter Mary was an offspring of this ‘concubine’ union and called herself Langford when she married a Warren, why not Walker, too, when he married into the same Warren family?

“That, though, would not account for the fact that my line DNA is different from Bob’s, would it? Married or not, it’s the same paternal Langford line, right? Does DNA from
different women show up in later-generation male Y DNA? I’ll never get this DNA business straight. We need to collect lots more DNA to straighten all this out.

“Every time we get a question answered, it just raises more. ‘Shi is absolutely right. It’s those questions that keep us absolutely riveted on the Rockcastle/Pulaski Langfords–nothin’ boring about that bunch, which I’ll yet claim (by more than marriage), before we’re through.
Thank you, thank you, for sharing this! I’m sharing this with my descendants of Walker, and with Gene Lankford, who can tell me what kind of difference this might (if any) make in the DNA, but will leave you others to share it with those on your branch and other Langford researchers, if you prefer.

“I don’t think it’s anything to be sensitive about–I like Bob’s chuckling approach. The truth shall indeed make us Langfords free! What a breakthrough!!

“Jeff, if I were there, I’d be pinning a star on your nose about now, so don’t say how glad you are I’m not! 🙂

“One of these days we are going to find proof positive and Walker is going to have to stop walkin’ in the t’other direction! . . . .

“‘Glad your eyes are better, Bob. My doc is watching two developing cataracts. The new prescription he gave me wasn’t right, so now I have to wait for a new one to come in, while I wear a right new lens and a left old one. Two weeks of this, and I am realizing that when
sight is off, the whole rest of the body doesn’t function quite right. I’m so dizzy I don’t dare drive and can hardly walk.  But isn’t it great that we have the medical technology to set us toward clear vision? I’m glad you’re closer than I am to that goal.

“By the way, Jeff, I sure would like to see that manuscript you sent Bob, as well, when you’re ready. I do pretty well, closing one eye. 🙂

“Sherlene”  [Jeff’s response, same evening of 6 Mar]:

“It wouldn’t affect the DNA tests, since the maternal line doesn’t influence the Y-DNA test.

“Thanks for saying such nice things. I hope the book/booklet/whatever will be ready mid-April. This new info has to be incorporated and will necessitate some re-writes. I was doing some last-minute fact checking when I stumbled upon this; sure didn’t expect to find it.
“Jeff” [More from John Robert, “Whetstone Bob,” or “The Colonel,” as we call him, same evening of 6 Mar]:

“Sherlene, This is quite a new revelation and no telling where it’s gonna lead us. I’ll bet some of them old Langfords are sweating bullets now that Jeff has unearthed Stephen’s here-to-fore well kept secret. . . .”  [We cousins have so much fun–especially when the facts are better than fiction–what a story there is in all this!–shb.]  –shb 6 Mar 2008

JEFF RENNER TRANSCRIBES STEPHEN’S AGREEMENT WITH “CONCUBINE” BETSY BROWN–PROVIDES MORE DETAIL.  E-letter copied to shb, 7 Mar 2008, by Jeff Renner.  He was going to send a scan of the document, which I eagerly awaited:


“Following is the agreement made between Stephen and Elizabeth. The copy was too light to scan properly. I’ve added some punctuation but not corrected grammar or spelling.

Article of and agreement maid and concluded on between Stephen Langford of the county of Lincoln and State of Kentucky of the one part and Elizabeth Brown of the same county State aforesaid of the other part, to wit: Sd. Langford for his part doth agree to pay sd. Elizabeth Brown the just sum of one hundred pounds true and lawful money of Kentucky for her services and the use of her property here under named to be paid annually every year, to wit: one negroe man named Sam, one negroe girl named charity, one waggon and four pair of geers, three horse beasts, three feather beds and furnature, one ten gallon Kettle, two pots, two dutch overs, one Set of black smith tools, a parcel of pewter containing dishes basons, plates, sppons, some farming tools containing axes, grubbin hoes, one broad hoe, chissels, augers, draw nife, han saw, nine cows and caves, ten steers, two dry cows, four heffers, one bull, for which I do oblige myself my heirs &c to return said property unto Elizabeth Brown with all its increase except the increase of the horses and cattle which is to be equally divided; this property to be delivered when called upon. Given under my hand and seal this 17th day of november 1793.

Signed by Stephen Langford and Elizabeth Brown. Witnessed by Sarah Ross and Moses Riddle
When Elizabeth’s administrators (Isham Gentry and John Langford) sued, they wanted Elizabeth’s property back, in accordance with the agreement. Among the arguments made by Langford’s estate in defense was that Elizabeth’s husband, Benjamin Brown, was alive in 1793 when this agreement was made, which, they argued, should void the contract. The Rockcastle Circuit Court ruled in Langford’s favor. Brown’s heirs won on appeal. During the course of the appeal, Langford’s admins decided Benjamin was indeed dead in 1793.
We don’t have all the depositions and stuff like we have from some of the other cases. The reason is that this was filed originally in Rockcastle about 1812 and those records burned in the courthouse fire. What we’re left with is the appeal documents, filed in Lincoln County.

“Here’s what I know about Elizabeth:

“1. Her maiden name was Ross and she married Benjamin Brown 9 Aug 1785 in Lincoln County.
2. Francis Dove was her step-father.
3. Prior to 1785, Elizabeth Ross was somewhat active in land matters, making and being mentioned in several land entries, generally above Crab Orchard and adjacent to William Whitley’s property, near where Stephen lived.
4. Elizabeth Brown is listed in the 1793 tax list with two slaves (one under 16); no Benjamin Brown is listed.
5. Elizabeth never again shows up in the tax lists.
6. Benjamin Brown last appears in the tax lists in 1791.
7. In 1799 Stephen and Elizabeth sold Charity and her child, Hannah, to Benjamin Langford.
8. Stephen and Elizabeth had children together, names are never listed.

“I will likely be making the assertion in my book that Elizabeth was instrumental in Stephen’s successful station enterprise.

“Based on a deposition given in the appeal by James Mcormack on 22 Apr 1813, the money Stephen paid to Elizabeth was for their children. The pertinent part of the deposition reads:
‘… that late in the fall of [1806] as in the company of Stephen Langford, and we were conversing about his family, and he told me that he was not married to the woman that he was living with at that time, known by the name of Betsy Brown, and I told him the evil consequences attending such a life, that his children could not heir his estate, he told me that he had made provision for them so that they should heir {marked out and replaced by the word “heir” was “have the benefit of”} his property, for a compensation for her services, and that she might loose no property that she had when she came to live with him, he gave her his obligation for one hundred pounds yearly, and in that manner he allowed his children by her to heir his estate.’

“Included in the ‘increase’ of the slaves were Charity’s children still living in 1812: Jim, Soloman, David, Hannah and Aaron. Brown’s heirs asked for $20,000, whether they got that much of not is unknown. Anything approaching that amount would have significantly impacted Stephen’s estate.

“Langford’s heirs, in making first arguments as to why Elizabeth’s deal with Stephen wasn’t valid (because she was still married, they argued), stated ‘…the said Elizabeth, having lived with the said Stephen a long time previous to the said [agreement in 1793] in the condition of a concubine, viz: for the space of seven years, in the county aforesaid [Lincoln]…’

“This places Stephen and Elizabeth together in 1786-87, just after her marriage to Benjamin Brown. Remember that in 1787 Stephen was living just west of William Whitley and we don’t know upon whose land he lived. It could very well be he was living with Elizabeth on some of her family’s (or Francis Dove’s) land at that time. It’s all very complicated to figure out.

“We also don’t know when Elizabeth died. I tend to think it was in 1806-07 simply because I don’t think she would have allowed Lois to marry Stephen and have not demanded her property back; there are no suits filed during Stephen’s life pertaining to this stuff. There also doesn’t seem to be bad blood between Stephen and John Langford; remember John conducted (in a favorable manner) several of the depositions for Stephen in the 1807-08 period in the Harmon-Henderson actions. It sure looks like John and Elizabeth were children of Stephen and Elizabeth. The ages may be problematic, but maybe not, since we don’t really know how old these people were.

“Elizabeth married Isham Gentry in 1803; Stephen gave his consent, indicating she was not of legal age. So she could have been 15 or 16, giving a birthdate of around 1787, which fits the time frame. We’ve been assuming John was at least 18 or 20 or so in 1808. If he was 20, that’s a birthdate of 1788, also allowable. Mary Langford is easier–she married John Warren in 1808 with Stephen’s consent. If she was 16 or 18 at the time, that gives a birthdate in the early 1790s. We know nothing of Thomas’s age but he could also have been a son from the arrangement.

“All of this solidly answers why John, Thomas, Mary and Elizabeth were not listed as Stephen’s heirs in the lawsuits, while at the same time explaining their presence and actions.

“All thoughts and opinions about all this stuff will be most welcome.

“Jeff”  –shb 7 Mar 2008

[My proposing that Walker and Mary Langford might have been full siblings, daughters of Stephen Langford and Betsy Brown, who then, we know, married Warren siblings, brought quite a response from my brother-in-law, Barry D. Wood, which I mailed everybody, with this introduction–shb]:

“Having harebrained ideas has a plus side when I have relatives like Barry Wood, Gene Lankford, and Jeff Renner to set the record straight. (Yes, I claim Jeff, too,though he’ll be delighted to tell you it’s only by adoption, and now I suppose Barry will insist that he’s only related by marriage to my sister. Poor Gene was the one to prove my ancestors and his have the same DNA profile–‘don’t think there’s a thing he can do about it!)

“Anyway, as I started to say, now I have terrific essays to add to ancestral notes, and all I had to do to get them was be a little . . . er . . . CREATIVE!

“Mind you, I still don’t totally concede to their views, which I admit do look to be dern clear-sighted. I still want to see a document that proves Walker’s parentage, to go along with all that scientific spittin’.

“Sherlene (See Barry’s response, below. After you’ve had a chance to read this, I’ll also send along responses from Gene and Jeff to anyone I remember was subjected to my latest philosophical attack.)

Sent: Saturday, March 08, 2008 3:17 PM
Subject: Re: Mt. Vernon Stephen had a girlfriend

“No. Walker is the son of Joseph Lankford. I guarantee it.

“The DNA is a perfect match for that of Euclid Langford’s descendants. That mean that Walker came by his surname honestly.

“The Y DNA comes ONLY from the father, and from his father, from his father, etc. etc. The identity of the mother, ANY mother in ANY generation, has nothing to do with it.

“I know that it’s perplexing that the Warrens married into both Joseph Langford’s family and into that of Stephen Langford.  But it’s probably just coincidence. After all, the total population of the area of marriageable age between Crab Orchard and Mt. Vernon, stretching south to Somerset, was not ALL that huge in those days. And if nothing else, the fact that Mary Warren had married Walker Lankford would have made the other Warren siblings perk up their ears when hearing about another Langford in the area…. especially considering that John would perhaps have been viewed as a good catch from the standpoint of his presumably – to – be – inherited property.

“The 18th century was a lot more relaxed in terms of sexual morality than Victorian times. Sure, to the extent that people knew that Stephen Langford wasn’t married to Betsy, most would have disapproved, but he certainly wasn’t alone in terms of having a live-in relationship on the frontier without benefit of clergy.

“Jeff seems to believe that John Langford was Stephen’s son by Betsy, and I’d concur in that. A son had the first right to administer his parent’s estate, and if there were no legitimate sons, then an illegitimate one would no doubt suffice. Often when two administrators were appointed, one was the widow or child with the legal right of administration, while the other was not a relative — just someone with enough education and sense to deal with the issues of the estate in an appropriate fashion. I don’t know about Mr. Gentry at all in that regard — maybe I haven’t read the emails carefully enough.

“Now back to the question of Walker Lankford’s paternity. We know that he was orphaned in his youth, and that of course fits with the death of Joseph in 1785 in Lincoln County. He first appears on the tax lists with Mary, Joseph’s widow, in Lincoln County. The family story is that he had been born in North Carolina, which could be true, or it could be that his birthplace was ‘next to’ North Carolina on that tract in Pittsylvania County, Va. that Joseph patented — one of the boundaries being the NC state line, and the Carolina connection got fractured in the retelling of the story.

“We have Joseph placed in Caroline County, Virginia before his move to Pittsylvania County, Virginia, where he bought land on the North Carolina border. Within a few years, he’s over the mountains in Kentucky. Joseph’s putative brother Nicholas Langford Jr. stuck around long enough to give us the trace down to Euclid, with Euclid making his first appearance of record in Caroline. But we know that Euclid took a different direction out of Caroline County, as he was in Sussex County, Va. in 1792… (per the Bristol Parish Register) and from there, their family went south to Georgia, as you know. But the boys never lost their Y DNA.

“I haven’t ruled out the possibility that Stephen (or really someone back a ways in Stephen’s paternal line — let’s call him X) might have had a father who did not bear the Langford name, yet if reared in a Langford home (whether through adoption, foster child situation, or son of a deceased father whose widow’s second husband raised the children) this X might have taken on the Langford name that way. But since the DNA is consistent between Stephen’s descendants and the descendant of certain other Langfords, I think that the soundest theory is that there were simply two or more Langford immigrants to America from England who were not related on their respective paternal lines at all.

“Given the popularity of the given name Nicholas among the holders of the manor of Longford in Derbyshire going back to the 12th century, and also in the Langfords in Gloucester County and later in Caroline, I believe that ultimately THAT strain will match with Joseph and Walker, while the other Virginia Langfords will link up with other English Langford / Longford / Lanford families elsewhere on the scepter’d isle.

“That said, it stands to reason that with Stephen and Walker both living in the Crab Orchard area early on, and Walker no doubt passing through Mt. Vernon from time to time, it’s difficult to imagine that they didn’t know each other even before Stephen’s son John met Walker’s sister in law. And both Walker and Stephen had likely heard enough family stories about their respective origins back in the Old Dominion (remember, this was before TV so family members HAD to talk with each other) that they would have thought that they were cousins of some degree.

“That’s my theory and I’m stickin’ to it.

“Barry”  –shb 8 Mar 2008 [My response to John Robert or “Whetstone Bob,” “The Colonel” Langford’s response to reading the above, 8 Mary 2008]:

“The Colonel’s gonna string me up for sending this one on to everbudy. Then again, it’s so rare that anyone agrees with me, he mighta known this would happen! Besides, now I’ll betcha we collect a whole ‘nother string of essays.

“Bob, this is so much fun, bless you. You’re one good reason I can’t stand to leave the Mt. Vernon tribe and wanna hang with both. So what do y’all think of Bob’s theory?

“Sherlene” (see below)

—– Original Message —–
Sent: Saturday, March 08, 2008 6:02 PM
Subject: Re: Walker, as son of Joseph, has a WOOD WARRANTEE!


“I agree with you. What the heck do them so called experts know anyhow?  They think they’re so smart with their fancy degrees and their PhD’s and their little cotton swabs. Why I’ll bet they couldn’t tell a Concubine from a Chambermaid. (Grin)

“Here’s my theory: Joseph and Pitt Ben had the same Momma, but not the same Pappy.
That’s why we have what appears to be the same family of Langfords with different DNA.
Let them deep thinkers put that in their pipes and smoke it for a spell.

“How come folks don’t understand that members of the opposite sex have been playing
Slap & Tickle in the bushes (like Grandma Nancy and Uriah Gresham) since time began?
The Rev. Gene seems to be the only one who has that fact firmly planted in his brain.

“DNA testing is a useful tool but it ain’t gonna solve the Langford riddle. If we put all our faith and trust in DNA testing, we’re gonna be mighty disappointed. There’s only one way this mystery is gonna get solved and that’s the old fashion shoe leather approach that Jeff Renner is using.

“And, as Grandpa Langford was so fond of saying, “That’s a word with the bark on it”.

“The Colonel”  –shb 8 Mar 2008

To: Sherlene H. Bartholomew
Sent: Saturday, March 08, 2008 7:12 PM

“Sherlene, Yore gonna get me tarred and feathered and rode outta town on a fence rail. Tee Hee!!!

“The Colonel”

“Wall, I wanted good company, doin’ the same! 🙂

“Me”  –shb 8 Mar 2008

[Same day, 8 Mar]:  “Here’s more from Jeff and Barry–I can’t remember whether I yet forwarded Jeff’s commentary (below Barry’s), so some of you may wish to read that first.

“Kidding aside, I’m sure I speak for us all to thank every one who has made precious time to advance “The Search” and contribute so generously to our understanding. We Langfords are most blessed by God’s gift that each brings toward putting together this thousand-piece puzzle.

“Sherlene (see below):

From: “Jeff Renner”

“Isham Gentry was married to Stephen’s daughter, Elizabeth. So the admins for Elizabeth Brown were Stephen’s son-in-law and, in the case of John, presumed son. I’m bothered a bit by the lack of mention of Mary Warren, Stephen’s other daughter. She’s never, ever mentioned in any of this stuff. Thomas is also absent from the lawsuit things, but it could be he was not of age in the 1812 time-frame, although evidently he was by 1816. This could mean his birthdate was around 1794 or so, which would fit perfectly if he was Stephen’s and Elizabeth’s son.

“I agree with Barry about Walker and Joseph. The DNA stuff is pretty clear that Stephen and Walker are from two different lines and descendents of both have matches with others. It looks to me like a case of coincidence, as much as I distrust such things.

“And I’m still putting credence in the story of Thomas Lang(k)ford killed by the Harpes in 1799 on the road. He reportedly said he was on his way from Pittsylvania County to KY to visit relative. It could very well be he was going to see Mary and Walker. The Farris guy who ran the tavern and reported this stuff said he knew Thomas back in VA. Keep in mind Mary Langford lived on Farris land in Lincoln for a time, so there was some familiarity there. Doesn’t prove anything but…”

Sent: Saturday, March 08, 2008 8:35 PM [by Barry D. Wood]:
Subject: Re: Mt. Vernon Stephen had a girlfriend

“Jeff — Thanks for the support & confirmation. Yes, now that I look a little closer at what you wrote earlier, I see that you did mention Elizabeth Langford Gentry, with the implication that Isham was her husband. So that fits.

“I had been doing genealogy quite a while before I realized that the right to administer a decedent’s estate was a function of statute. And in historic times the statutes always (to my knowledge) gave first preference to the widow and then to the adult children of the deceased, with the sons in law standing in for the daughters. A married daughter would not have served as administrator in her own right. “At common law, the husband and the wife were one, and the husband was the one” (in terms of who would act for the couple legally).

“As long as I’m on the subject, in New England most women were educated at least to the point of literacy, on the theory that they needed to be able to read the Bible. South of New York in colonial times most women (other than Quaker women) were illiterate, a function of the unfortunate notion that they didn’t need to be able to read in order to perform women’s work. And of course a great many men were illiterate, too, in these times, due to the rarity of schools on the frontier. But as one looks at the passenger lists & oaths of allegiance of German immigrants to Pennsylvania in the 18th century, a remarkably high percentage of themen could sign their own names. Typically these German men were better educated than their own children would be, after a few decades spent mostly hewing homes and farms out of the wilderness.

“Back to Kentucky — I can’t account for the lack of any mention of Mary (Langford) Warren and of Thomas Langford in the court documents that you found. However, I imagine that every one of the parties involved understood that they would benefit as heirs of their mother, once her property was restored to the mother’s estate. And since everyone involved knew who they were, they felt no need to spell out the precise identities and relationships for us. Probably if the papers relating to Elizabeth Ross Brown’s estate had survived the courthouse fire, we would have found some mention of Mary (Langford) Warren and probably Thomas as well there.

“Also agreed about the Thomas who was murdered by the Harpes.

“Now as to Pitt Ben — remember that we don’t have any DNA yet from any descendant of Pitt Ben. What we DO have is the set of signatures that demonstrate that Pitt Ben’s son Stephen Langford is not the same person as Mt. Vernon Stephen. So it’s still possible that Pitt Ben is from the Nicholas Langford crew of Caroline County. However, there is still a Benjamin Langford who appears in the Caroline County order books well after Pitt Ben appears in Halifax/Pittsylvania Counties in southside Virgina. So we can’t say that the Benjamin Langford who was a co-defendant with Joseph Langford in Caroline County in the 1740’s is identical to Pitt Ben. And ditto with Rockcastle Stephen. His descendants fit with the biggest tribe of Langfords in America — the ones who I think go back to Thomas Langford of New Kent County, Virginia — but does Pitt Ben fit there? Hopefully we will know before too long.

“Barry”  –shb 8 Mar 2008

[Response from Gene Lankford to Bob’s theory and my musings, 9 Mar 2008]:


“That certainly is an interesting theory, and I definitely am no stranger to the fact that our ancestors sometimes (or even often) indulged in a little ‘extracurricular activity’ with the opposite sex.

“Yet, it would seem a remarkable coincidence for a woman to bear a child to two different Lang/kford men who were not even related to each other–certainly not impossible but very different, to say the least.

“The thing that I’m not sure everyone grasps here is that we’re not talking about merely a DNA mismatch within a supposed family. We’re talking about two lines that don’t match each other but each do match others of the same surname. In other words, we’re not talking about an NPE but two different Lang/kford lines altogether.

“Either way you approach it, at some point we’re talking about two different Lang/kford families that crossed paths–whether in Pittsylvania Co. or in Lincoln/Rockcastle Counties, KY, or somewhere else. Of course, wherever they did cross paths, it certainly is not improbable that if they knew each other they thought, based on the surname, that they were related, whether they were or not. But they would have thought themselves distant cousins or the like.

“Gene”  –shb 9 Mar 2008

1782, MAY–STEPHEN IS SETTLED IN LINCOLN COUNTY, KENTUCKY: From e-letter by Shiron Wordsworth to shb, 13 Apr 2006: ” . . . .Rockcastle’s Stephen was settled in Lincoln County, KY by May of 1782.”‘ She writes, 16 Oct 2006: “The only thing I can see here that needs correcting is that Robert [speaking, I believe, of the Robert who m. Frances Head, as mentioned in a letter forwarded by Ann Langford–shb] was born in Kentucky. Stephen and Benjamin had been in Kentucky since 1781.” –shb 16 Oct 2006

1782–1811 STEPHEN AMASSED OVER 36,000 ACRES THROUGH LAND GRANTS AND PURCHASES. (See 1811-tagged note below, about an 1811 court case involving Stephen’s land that outlines his heirs gives a framework for about when Stephen Lankford died). –shb 15 Sep 2006

LANGFORD LOCATIONS IN KENTUCKY: Per letter from Stephen Langford descendant, John Robert or “Bob” Langford, to shb, 1 July 2006: “Acorn/Whetstone is due east of Somerset by about 20 miles. [According to my mother, Ida-Rose Langford Hall’s records, my ancestor Fielding Langford and wife Sarah Bethurem had several children, including my ancestor James Harvey Langford, Sr., in Somerset, Pulaski, Kentucky-shb]. Mt Vernon is north/northeast of Somerset by about 30 miles and Crab Orchard is generally north of Somerset by about 25 miles. It appears to me that Crab Orchard may have been the original Langford settlement and they all scattered out from there. They would have gone through the Mt Vernon area to get to Crab Orchard and then some of them backtracked to Mt Vernon to establish their homes and businesses on or near to the Rockcastle river.” -shb 1 July 2006

1786, FEBRUARY 22–A STEPHEN AND A BENJAMIN LANGFORD WITNESS SUIT: Lincoln County, Virginia/Kentucky Deed Abstracts 1781-1795, compiled by Ann Pennington MacKinnon, Peggy Selby Galloway, and Michael C Watson (1998), searched by shb, 16 Jun 2006, at the FHL, Salt Lake City, UT (Call # 976.9625/R28m), p. 18: “22 February 1786, written 8 February 1786-Peter Vardeman of Fayette County…appoint my trusty friend Jonas Manefee of North Carolina state as my lawful attorney for me in my name to ask, demand, sue for and recover of John Donelson on certain Bond dated November 12th 1782… Signed by Vardeman. Witness: Stephen Langford and Benjamin Langford. Page 210.” -shb 19 Jun 2006

[Next entry to above, apparently missed when I entered the above, 19 Jun 2006]:  Lincoln County, Virginia/Kentucky Deeds, Volume 1, information forwarded by Terry Smith, 30 Sep 2006:  “22 February 1786, written 19 February 1786–William Fullin hear [sic] of Francis Fllin, deceased, of Buttetort [sic] [County] & State [of Virginia] . . . do appoint my trusty friend Stephen Langford of County of Lincoln . . . lawful attorney in the Kentucky Settlements . . . recover, possess and enjoy all and every part and parcel of and unto a certain tract . . . lying on Benson which said Francis purchased of said Benson which said Benson was entitled to by his corn right . . . Signed with mark.  Witness: Yelverton [misread of “Valentine”?–shb] Peyton and Israel Harman.  Page 210.”  –shb 27 Apr 2007

1787, 1794–YOUNGER SISTERS MARRY FARRIS BROTHERS? From e-letter by David E. Langford to shb, 14 Oct 2003: “In light of my recent interest in the Mr. Farris who was the manager of the Inn where Stephen Langford stayed before being killed by the Harpe brothers, it is interesting to note that some of the stories say that Mr. Farris and Stephen Langford were neighbors at one time. This makes additional sense, because here we have Johnson Farris who married Jenny Langford the 13th of August of 1787 in Lincoln County Virginia/Kentucky, and now in Martha’s document we find Ann Langford who married Elisha Ferris the 25th of June 1794, only 7 years later! [Note: I have since received a note from Shiron Wordsworth confirming that these Langford sisters did marry Farris brothers-shb.]

1788–A GRANDCHILD BORN: From e-letter to shb from [I must have been interrupted here and never got back to it-shb.]

1790 TAX LIST–“STEPHEN LANKFORD IS NAMED, ALONG WITH OTHER LANKFORDS, AS LIVING IN LINCOLN COUNTY, KENTUCKY. Historical Records of Harrodsburg (Mercer County), Formerly Known as Old Crab Orchard, Lincoln County [this claim that Harrodsburg was formerly known as “Old Crab Orchard” has been disputed by Langfords who know the area-shb], Stanford, Kentucky, by Mrs. Carl W. McGhee, of Washington D.C., searched 22 June 2006 at the FHL, Salt Lake City, Utah, by shb (Call No. 976.9485/H2m), page 7-x, Page B, names these Lankfords that I identify as follows: “Benja Lankford,” [I think this is the Benjamin Lankford who was b. 1765 (s/o Stephen and his first wife), d. aft. 1833, married and divorced Nancy Peyton]; “Mary Lankford” [my ancestor Walker Lankford’s mother, widow of Joseph Lankford who died in 1785, five years before this census was taken-shb]; “Stephen Lankford” [father of Benjamin (b. 1765), who was born abt. 1748 and died Feb-May 1811-shb] and “Walker Lankford” [ancestor of shb, son of Joseph, b. abt. 1728-1729 and Mary ___-wish I knew how Joseph is related to Stephen (and his son, Benjamin)-shb]. -shb 23 Jun 2006

1792–STEPHEN IS NOT ON TAX LIST, IN LINCOLN COUNTY, BUT A MILLY LANKFORD IS.  Per note from Jeff Renner to shb, 5 June 2007:  “Sherlene,  A quick clarification on something you said in the email to Ron [Ronald Jost–shb]. I was only speculating about Milly being Stephen’s wife. And the speculation is solely based on Milly showing up in the 1792 tax list (for the only time); 1792 also being the only year Stephen is absent–presumably moving to his station and/or working on the road; either way, he was temporarily away from his normal living area at that time. Jeff”  [Note:  Ron Jost says the wife of Joseph Lankford, in Lincoln County, was named Mary or “Milly,” (see notes of the first Mrs. Stephen Langford), so there’s a chance this 1792 Milly Lankford was the widowed Mrs. Joseph Lankford–shb.]  –shb 5 Jun 2007

1792, MARCH 20–SUIT DISCONTINUED. Lincoln County, Kentucky Records, Vol. III, compiled by Bettie Cummings Cook (Evansville, Indiana: Cook Publications), searched by shb, 22 Jun 2006, at the FHL, Salt Lake City, Utah (Call No. 976.9625/v28c/v.3), p. 38 -County Court Order Book 4, County Court and Court of Quarter Sessions 1791-1794: “p. 105, Commonwealth, v. STEPHEN LANKFORD, on presentment, Discontinued.” -shb 26 Jun 2006

1793, APRIL 10–WITNESS TO CRAIG-MILLER DEED: Lincoln County,Virginia /Kentucky Deed Abstracts 1781-1795, compiled by Ann Pennington MacKinnon, Peggy Selby Galloway, and Michael C Watson (1998), searched by shb, 16 Jun 2006, at the FHL, Salt Lake City, UT (Call # 976.9625/R28m): “10 April 1793 written 10 April 1793-Lewis Craig of Fayette County to William Miller Bledose…173 acres…for 185 pounds…in Lincoln…on Gilbert’s Creek…corner of Phillip Bucknor’s 500 acres…Joseph Bledsoe’s line…Campbell’s line… Witness: Stephen Langford, Edward Lowe, Baker Ewing, Edward Thomas, William Gooch, William [X] Bryant, Moses Bledsoe, James Forbis, Larham Ramsey, John Graham. Signed, William Green. Page 223.” -shb 20 Jun 2006

1793, JUNE 24–SELLS “PROPERTY” TO ELIZABETH BROWN. Lincoln County, Virginia/Kentucky Deed Abstracts 1781-1795, compiled by Ann Pennington MacKinnon, Peggy Selby Galloway, and Michael C Watson (1998), searched by shb, 16 Jun 2006, at the FHL, Salt Lake City, UT (Call # 976.9625/R28m), p. 57: “24 June 1793, written 24 June 1793-Bill of Sale from Stephen Langford of Lincoln to Elizabeth Brown for the following: 1 Negro man named Sam about 22 years of age, 1 Negro girl named Charity about 14 years of age, 1 waggin, and 4 pair of jens, and 3 horse beasts, 3 feather beds, 1-10 gallon kettle, 2 large Dutch ovens, 1 set blacksmith tools, parcel of pewter, farming tools, 9 cows and calfs, 10 steers, 2 dry cows, 4 heifers, 1 black bull….for 163 pounds and 12 shillings. Signed by Langford. Teste: Willis Green. Page 211.” -shb 19 Jun 2006

[Note: The name Elizabeth Brown is of interest, as a James Brown was named in 1783, as executor for my ancestor, Joseph Langford’s will (along with Joseph’s wife). I have long felt that Stephen and my Joseph are related, but wish I could prove how. -shb 19 Jun 2006.]

1793, JULY 16–BILL OF SALE TO ELIZABETH BROWN: Lincoln County Kentucky Records, Vol. III, compiled by Bettie Cummings Cook (Evansville, Indiana: Cook Publications), searched at the FHL, Salt Lake City, Utah, by shb, 22 Jun 2006 (Call No. 976.9625/v28c/v.3), p. 77: “1793, July 16 – p. 244, Bill of Sale from STEPHEN LANGFORD to ELIZABETH BROWN was proved by WILLIAM PEARL and THOMAS SPARKS, witnesses thereto, and recorded.” –shb 4 July 2006

1793, JUNE 24–STEPHEN LANGFORD SELLS GOODS TO ELIZABETH BROWN: Lincoln County, Virginia/Kentucky Deed Abstracts (1781-1795), compiled by Ann Pennington MacKinnon, Peggy Selby Galloway, and Michael C. Watson (MGW Publications), 1998, found and searched by shb, 16 Jun 2006, at the FHL, Salt Lake City, Utah, p. 57: “24 June 1793, written 24 June 1793-Bill of Sale from Stephen Langford of Lincoln to Elizabeth Brown for the following: 1 Negro man named Sam about 22 years of age, 1 Negro girl named Charity about 14 years of age, 1 waggin, and 4 pairs of jens, and 3 horse beasts, 3 feather beds, 1-10 gallon kettle, 2 large Dutch ovens, 1 set blacksmith tools, parcel of pewter, farming tools, 9 cows and calfs, 10 steers, 2 dry cows, 4 heifers, 1 black bull….for 163 pounds and 12 shillings. Signed by Langford. Teste: Willis Green. Page 211.” –shb 20 Jun 2006

LANGFORD–BROWN CONNECTION. My ancestor, Fielding Langford, on 1 Sep 1783, designated James Brown as executor, along with Fielding’s wife, of Fielding’s will. Also, a witness to Fielding’s will was Daniel Brown. Are they related to the Elizabeth Brown who is buying Stephen Langford’s goods, ten years later, in 1793? Does this point to a connection between Stephen and Fielding? –shb 20 Jun 2006

AFT 1795–BENJAMIN BROWN STILL ALIVE?  DEATH OF STEPHEN LANGFORD’S “CONCUBINE” ELIZABETH’S HUSBAND, BENJAMIN BROWN, NOT CERTAIN.  I first heard that it was thought Benjamin Brown died before 1793, but this was apparently disputed in a later court case.  Jeff Renner writes, 12 Mar 2008:  “We don’t really know when Ben died. One of the documents Langford’s estate filed backed off their comment about him being alive in 1793 but I found some stuff that looks to show him alive in 1795. Now this could be a different Benjamin Brown, but who knows. That’s not exactly an uncommon name and there were a bunch of apparently unrelated Brown around here early. I’m probably not going to focus on it much because his exact data isn’t pertinent to my story; the fact he was alive when Elizabeth and Stephen began their relationship is the issue for me.” –shb 17 Mar 2008

PHOTOS OF HOME WHERE STEPHEN LANGFORD LIVED.  Attached to Stephen’s media file are two photos, taken of the home where Stephen Langford lived.  One, newer one, was forwarded by John Robert “Bob” Langford to shb, 3 June 2007, and was probably taken in the late 30s.  Later (ate unknown), my parents traveled to Mt. Vernon and my father took a photo of Stephen’s home, when the housewas in worse condition.  My label for these photos now reads:

STEPHEN LANGFORD HOUSE: A more new photo of the home Stephen Langford lived in was forwarded to shb, 3 Jun 2007, by John Robert or “Bob” Langford, after my sister, Virginia Wood, gave me an oil she won at the first annual Stephen Langford Memorial Reunion drawing, as painted by Gloria R. Van Horn, of Texas–a friend of Shi Wordsworth’s (Shiron is another descendant of Stephen’s and was a major mover in planning the reunion, held 27 May 2007). I thought this oil looked like a photo my parents took somewhat later of Stephen’s house [also attached to this media file], as it once stood, in Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle, Kentucky, but wanted to make sure it was Stephen’s home, so asked.

In return, I received this photo from Bob, who is also a descendant of Stephen.  Bob identified it as indeed the home of Mt. Vernon’s Stephen Langford (definitely the one in the painting, though she painted it as the older log cabin, before mills came and it was fronted with white-painted siding).

Local historian Jeff Renner was featured speaker at the reunion, and he said he did not doubt that Stephen actually lived in this home. I’m looking at what I can see of the chimney on the left, and it looks to me like it was built of fieldstone and is shaped much like my ancestor Walker Lankford’s chimney (that we found still standing, in the middle of a field, twenty-five minutes away, along Line Creek, in Pulaski County, Kentucky).

It has been thought that Stephen’s house was also a stagecoach stop, but Jeff Renner says there is some question about whether the house and stop were the same place. Bob Langford writes about the photo of Stephen’s home he sent: “Here is a front view photo after ship lap siding was added, probably taken in the 1930’s. It was located directly across from the courthouse, on the south side. After the house burned, the site was excavated and lowered to street level. . . . And, here is a side view photo of the Tip Langford house [sometimes confused with Stephen’s, as they looked similar from the front–this home also attached to Stephen’s file, as a point of comparison–shb], probably taken in the late 40’s or early 50’s, with snow on the ground, also with ship lap siding. This was located on the other side of the court house and about 2 blocks to the east, so the two houses would have been about 3-4 blocks apart.” –shb 4 Jan 2007

CURRENT LOCATION OF LOT WHERE STEPHEN LANGFORD’S HOME STOOD:  Per e-response from Bob Langford, 4 June 2007:  “I didn’t get a picture of the lot, but it’s easy to find.  It’s right beside Hwy. 150, which would have taken part of the front yard when they built that road. It’s just across the street from the courthouse. There’s a car lot there now and you will see a 20 foot embankment up to the house next door that still stands today.”  –shb 4 June 2007

MORE ABOUT THE OIL PAINTING OF STEPHEN LANGFORD’S HOME.  E-note from Shi Wordsworth to shb, 3 Jun 2007:  “You have one of Gloria’s wonderful paintings of Stephen’s “dwelling house.” That’s how his residence is referred to in the Kentucky Gazette in 1796. She did two paintings of this house. One I gave to Jeff. You have the other one. She decided to depict the house as it might have looked originally. It’s the same house your mother took a photo of many years ago, and the house bought by the McFerron family although I’m not sure when the house was purchased by them. Supposedly this house was a station on the Underground Railroad.

“Gloria is a precious person. She’s such a sweetheart. She offered to do these paintings when she heard about the reunion and Bob’s idea for door prizes. She is a member of my church, and one of my all time favorite people. She’s one of God’s children with a generous heart for sure.

“If I remember correctly, Julie got the painting of Tip’s house.”  [She is referring to my first cousin, Julie Langford Peterson, who atended the reunion with her father, my Uncle Ernest Fount Langford, and her son, Brad, and his girlfriend, Bonnie Roberts–shb.]  –shb 4 Jun 2007

1793–IMPRESSIVE HOME CALLED “LANGFORD’S STATION:” From Shiron Wordsworth e-letter to shb, 8 Oct 2004: “Here’s another bit of triva you might enjoy. The journal of the French botanist, Andre Michaux records that he spent the night of November 11, 1793, at Langford’s Station, ten miles south of Crab Orchard. I had no idea who this botanist was, but I found him easily on the net. His history as a French ambassador/ researcher is impressive, and his prints of American flora are so beautiful that they could make you cry. You can still purchase reprints for a reasonable price. One biography said that he found some of the pioneer settlers a bit rough-edged and often did not stay with them, preferring to sleep outside in the elements rather than share cramped and less than hospitable quarters. That fact made me proud that he chose to stay with Grandpa Stephen, and that the comforts of the Langford home must have been acceptable to his refined tastes. The picture I have of Langford’s Station is impressive. I’ll admit that. Stephen Langford didn’t live in a one-room log cabin even in 1793. Way to go Stephen!” -shb 8 Oct 2004

STEPHEN’S BIG WHITE HOUSE WAS IN MT. VERNON. Somehow my mother, Ida-Rose Langford Hall, got the impression that the first Stephen’s white house was in Stanford (see p. 117 of her book, Progenitors and Descendants of Fielding Langford (1970).[Later I found her hand-written photo label, and she designated the photo Dad took of Stephen’s home, as attached to blue posterboard, as having been in “Crab Orchard.”  This is corrected in a letter to shb by Shiron Wordsworth, 3 July 2006: ” Howdy! I got a chance to look at that info you sent Bob, the notes about Crab Orchard and the area surrounding it. I found one piece of info that needs clarification. It concerns Langford Station and Stephen1. Stephen1 never had a home in Stanford. At least the archives in Lincoln County have no record of such a land grant or purchase, and family lore places him firmly in what is now known as Mt. Vernon from his entrance into Kentucky until his death in 1811. Records indicate that he was living on this land while it was still a part of the Barbour Grant, and even before he purchased the grant from Barbour. Until the town was incorporated, it was known as Langford and the area spoken of in surveys as Langford’s. . . . From looking at the research that has been done, it appears that the Langfords all settled somewhere around present day Mt Vernon. If they spread out it was generally south and east of that town. At least that’s where you find them in the earliest mentions of them. It’s where you find them as late as 1917, too.” -shb 4 July 2006

“BIG WHITE HOUSE” BUILT BY STEPHEN’S GRANDSON? Note from Shiron Wordsworth to shb, 31 Jan 2006: “The researcher [who is now searching Rockcastle County, Kentucky court records, whom Shiron doesn’t name-shb] found a note that Johnathan, Stephen’s grandson, built the big white house [we were talking about Stephen’s place, called “Langford’s Station”-shb]. I’m not buying that yet, because the editor of a Democratic newspaper said that, in 1890, or so. What do Democrats know? [Hear, hear-shb.] For sure the house was on the Underground Railroad. Whether it was already in the hands of the McFerron family at that time, or not, I’m not sure. What a mess of research needs to be done. Rats!”

“BIG WHITE HOUSE” OWNED BY MATILDA HOUK/HAD “PORTHOLES FOR SHOOTING INDIANS”: As posted on the ‘net, accessed 26 Mar 2006, by shb:

Subject: KFY: Mt Vernon Signal Newspapers, 1907 – Rockcastle Co – FROM LONG AGO
Submitted By: Ray E_v_a_n_s – Mount Vernon Signal
January 4, 1907 (Note: This information has been re-typed from the microfilm. The re-typed
material has been subjected to a computerized spelling check. However, an effort has been made to preserve the English usage and spelling of that period.)

DESCENDANTS WITH IMAGINATION: E-letter from John Robert or “Bob” Langford, copied to shb, 6 Oct 2006, responding to Ann Langford’s admission that she likes to paint: “Well there ya go. A likely candidate to volunteer to do a fancy painting of the Old Langford Station. I can see it now…stagecoach parked in front, unloading passengers. Horse & buggy coming down the dusty street and behind that is a wagon load of hay being pulled by a team of mules. Can you see the old timers sitting on the front porch, playing a game of checkers? The checker board is set up on top of a whiskey barrel. There’s a hitching rail all along the front of the station and I see several horses tied there. I hope that beardy guy with the black hat ain’t a fixin’ to start no trouble. It’s gonna be a grand painting Ann. I can’t wait to see it.” –shb 6 Oct 2006

On 10/6/06, <> < <>> wrote:  “Hi cousins!  Yes, I do art work but haven’t done it for years. My drafting table is piled full of boxes because my main goal is to move to the Midwest so my house has a lot of packed things. I am waiting for the good Lord to open the door so I can move to Nebraska. Once there my drafting table will be free for me to do my art work. I even have a rolling stand with shelves to put all my medium in.
Do-Si-Do”  –shb

“SOME ROCKCASTLE HISTORY Of First Things and Occurrences within the County,” by James Maret: [I am leaving in the first part, for flavor and interest-the whole is worth reading. Note reference to “Moses N. Langford,” as part of this. The part about Matilda Houk owning the “old Langford house” is at the last of this excerpt-shb.] The first telegraph line was built by the United States Government through the county from Cumberland Gap to Camp Nelson. The office in Mt Vernon was in the Joplin Hotel, 1862. The operator was Peter Jones. The next man who manipulated the “key” and read the dots and dashes made on long strips of paper from a telegraph “register,” or threshing machine, was the good natured Johnny Nagel. They didn’t read by “sound” in those days. – Acoustic telephone; J. E. Vowels, James Maret, and J. L. Whitehead ran line from the depot to their business houses. – Electric telephone introduced in county by A. H. Bastin, James Maret and A. E. Albright, 1898. – Typewriter, by James Maret, 1889. – Newspaper, The Signal. By James Maret, 1887. – Turbine water wheel, Moses N. Langford. – Steam flour mill by Willis Griffin. – Planing mill, W. R. Dillion. – Circular saw mill, Willis Griffin. – Two horse carriage, W. H. Kirtley. J. L. Joplin was second to buy one, price $400. It was in use 25 years and a portion of the running gear is still in existence after nearly 50 years. – Bicycle, W. L. DeGraff. It was an ordinary great wheel in front with a very small one following. It gave the boys, who tried it, many falls and “somersets” (not Pulaski county). – Steam thrasher, Micheal Bowers, – Traction engine, Orus Bowers and brother. – Phonograph, William Cummins, of Maretburg. – Organette, Walk Holcomb, Cherry Stoner, W. J. Newcomb, 1906. – Stone crusher and steam drill, Hugh Miller & Co., 1894. – Gasoline engine, L & N R. R. Co., in pump house at Brodhead. Dr. M. L. Meyers, second. – Magazine or repeating shotgun, George Gover. – Concrete building, Jones Fish, with George Johnson a close second. Store house erected in Mt Vernon in 1906. – Printing press, an old “army” and office outfit used at Crab Orchard during the war, J. E. Vowels 1886. – Iron safe with combination lock, J. H. Otter. – House made of brick, court house and clerk’s office first, Joplin Hotel, second. – House in Mt Vernon, supposed to be the old Langford house, now the property of Mrs. Matilda Houk, situated about 100 yards south of the court house . The logs in this building have port holes cut in them and were used in firing at the Indians in the early days. The house is weather boarded now and dosen’t show the logs; etc.”

I asked Shiron Wordsworth if this Matilda who owned the white house, as reported in “Rockcastle Firsts,” was the Matilda I only recently learned was a daughter of original settler Stephen Langford by his first wife. Her response, 27 Mar 2006: “No, Matilda Houk isn’t Stephen1’s daughter. Stephen1’s daughter, Matilda, would have been born before 1800, and this newspaper article is from 1907. Here’s what I did find in Rockcastle Roots that is interesting and probably pertinent to the article you have here. Matilda Houk was the second wife of James F. Houk who was born in Rockcastle in 1821, and died there in 1902. Matilda’s maiden name was Payne. In 1897, when Henry Langford was shot and killed on election day, Chester Payne was shot five times in the same attack but survived. The Payne, Houk, and Langford families appear to have been allies in the troubles that arose in Rockcastle following the Civil War. I feel quite certain that Chester Payne and Matilda Payne Houk are somehow related, perhaps as aunt and nephew. My guess is that when the Langfords wanted to sell Langford Station (were they out of their collective minds?) they sold it to a family who had befriended them in their troubles.” -shb 27 Mar 2006

JONATHAN LANGFORD–A LAWYER,MEMBER OF LEGISLATURE/BUILT OLD LANGFORD HOUSE? As posted on RootsWeb, accessed by shb, 4 Mar 2006: “From Long Ago – submitted by Ray Evans – Mount Vernon Signal, January 4, 1907 – “Some Rockcastle History of First Things and oOccurrences within the [Rockcastle-shb] County,” by James Maret – . . . -First monument was erected by Jonathan S. Langford on a lot in Mt. Vernon cemetery. This lot was deeded to posterity by Mr. Langford for use of his relatives. The monument is made from Rockcastle freestone and is in remarkble state of preservation. All the lettering can be plainly read. The inscription shows that Mr. Langford was a lawyer and had been a member of the legislature, and died in 1852. His remains do not rest by this monument, but in Madison county where he lived a number of years. He was the grandfather of the late M. P. Newcomb and many of his descendants are living in this county. The old ‘Langford house’ mentioned in another portion of this article was built by Jonathan Langford.” -shb 4 Mar 2006 [Note: Jonathan is thought to be the son of Robert, son of Benjamin, son of the first Stephen Lankford-shb.]

FAMILY ROBBERS/STEPHEN’S CABIN DESCRIBED-A STAGECOACH STOP! E-letter to Allen Leigh, copied to shb, 7 Oct 2003: “Hello again, Allen! [For first two paragraphs of this letter, so notes of Stephen’s grandson, Elza.

“Allen, I’m new to this thing called genealogical research. I haven’t posted anything on the family because I don’t think that’s wise until I have proof in hand. There are several other postings that validate my suspicions, but I’m not sure how reliable those sources are. One lineage listed at refers to Martha Green’s research. I’ve come across her name more than once. But lost here in the wilds of Texas, it’s hard to get to original sources and maintain a nine to five job.

“Mom is still in the Bluegrass and is interested in the family stories, but not enough to make the trip to Rockcastle County and dig up ‘dirt’ at the Rockcastle County Historical Society. At age 73, she enjoys her living family more than her dead relatives. Hard to believe, huh?

“After my grandmother and her sister were orphaned in 1920, Tip Langford took the two girls to raise. Grandmom [this is Mary Ann Langford Steenbergen, daughter of R. Elza-shb] grew up in the old Langford house in Mt. Vernon which has since been destroyed. John Lair says it was the old Stephen Langford house, a stagecoach stop on the Wilderness road. It was a huge house, split log covered in clapboard siding. Tip told her that wounded Civil War soldiers were cared for in one of the upstairs rooms. He used to show her certain suspicious stains on the hardwood floor. He assured her that the stains were blood, and that the stain was stubborn, impossible to remove. Maybe that’s true, or maybe he was just a great storyteller. I do know that a copy of the 1800 census was ordered to be kept at the home of Stephen Langford. That’s in the official record. So the house must have been standing as early as that date. Lair also said that the house had remnants of the past in evidence in the form of slits through which the Langfords used to fire at marauding Indians. Grandmom never mentioned those, however. Maybe they were covered in wallpaper, or maybe Tip thought that Civil War bloodstains were enough scary stuff for his niece to handle. He did tell her that the house had been a stagecoach stop, so his account jives with Lair’s.

“Allen, I’ve got to get ready for work. I’ve got more Langford stories if you are up for them. It was a dark and stormy night…:).

“Shiron” -shb 11 Oct 2003

TWO WHITE HOMES WITH COLUMNS NOT TO BE CONFUSED-A STONE’S THROW [ACTUALLY 3-4 BLOCKS–SHB] FROM “LANGFORD’S STATION”: See notes of Mary Ann Langford Steenbergen (Shiron’s grandmother), RIN 49567, for a photo Shiron sent shb, 3 Jan 2004, with this description: “I’m also sending you a picture she had made on the porch of the old Langford house (the one that’s log under the siding, and the home reported to be the Wilderness Road home / inn that the original Rockcastle settler, Stephen Langford built in 1790. [In a separate white home owned by James S. “Tip” Langford?-shb] Grandmom is trying her very best to look like Zelda Fitzgerald in order to woo the gentleman who became my grandfather. I guess it worked because she caught her man, but the pouty expression just wasn’t her normal look, at least not when I knew her. The shadow behind her is Tip. I like the picture for that reason. It seems a real portrait of her life. Always in the shadows behind her was this good man watching out for her best interests and picking up the pieces when her life began to crumble. Tip took care of Elza’s Little Mary. He kept his word. And didn’t Tip spruce that house up with the porch and the columns? It’s Rockcastle’s version of Scarlet’s Tara.” -shb 3 Jan 2004

[From Shiron Wordsworth’s letter to shb, 3 Feb 2006: “Grandmom was familiar with both Tip’s house where she grew up and the house that goes by the name Langford Station. They were within hailing distance of one another. The bloodstains were for certain in Tip’s residence which was a very old house by the time Grandmom lived there. I’ve wondered recently if both homes were a part of Langford Station, originally. Recently even the sainted John Lair’s history has come into question, now that documents are popping up like mushrooms in the archives of Lincoln County. Tip’s stories tied his house to the Langford lore surrounding Langford Station. We are awaiting the outcome of every aging and yellowed piece of paper the Lincoln County archives own.”] -shb 3 Feb 2006

MORE ABOUT THE HOUSE: From Shiron Wordsworth’s letter to shb, 3 Feb 2006, answering some of my questions: “Tip’s house in the photo of him with Grandmom was a separate house altogether but also a very old house made of huge logs and covered with the white siding you see in the picture. Grandmom said that she lived in “both” Langford houses while she lived with her Uncle Tip. Unfortunately she can’t tell me now what she meant by “both” houses, and I was too dumb to ask her before her death. She certainly thought from what Tip told her, that she had a grandpa named Stephen Langford who owned a tavern on the Wilderness Road. She told me this before I ever got interested in just who Stephen Langford was. At that time I was more fascinated with the tavern Stephen owned and the idea of the Wilderness Road than I was in the identity of Stephen Langford himself. Well rats! Frogfrocky even!

“Popular history says that Stephen Langford lived in what is called Langford Station, the big white house with columns across the entire front and an upstairs porch. At this point, we have to wait for confirmation from Lincoln County archives if, in fact, any confirmation exists, as to who exactly built this house. The researcher has uncovered evidence that early on Stephen Langford had a “vision” for the town that would become Mt. Vernon. He says that Stephen Langford cut a road across one hill and through a valley to divert traffic off the main thoroughfare in the area, Skeggs Trace, a part of the Wilderness Road. He wanted travelers at that time to be led to his doorstep. The researcher said that there is no reason in the world for the town of Mt. Vernon to have grown up where it did except for the fact that Stephen Langford wanted it there. So…if Stephen had a vision for a town, if he built a road to make traffic into that town possible, if he had a place called Langford Station good enough for a French botanist to call home for one night in 1793, it makes sense that the house that stood behind the courthouse in Mt. Vernon is Stephen’s original Langford Station. But again…we’re waiting for what the records might prove or disprove. One thing is certain. Langford Station was a very old house and someone named Langford lived there!

“Rockcastle County And It’s People says that when the house known as Langford Station was torn down, they found many secret doors and places to hide as well as evidence in the basement that slaves were actually hidden there before the Civil War. It also says that logs from this house were used to reconstruct Fort Boonesborough.” -shb 3 Feb 2006

NO PHOTOS: I asked Shi if there were any photos of the secret doors and hiding places found in the old Stephen Langford house, with this response, 22 Feb 2006: “The McFerrons bought Langford Station. Since they aren’t relatives of the Langfords, there are no pictures of the secret doors or the cellar. At least none that are in our possession. All we have is what this McFerron descendant wrote about the house. In 1992, the property was still in the McFerron family. I’m not sure if they have since sold it.” -shb 22 Feb 2006

HOME AN “UNDERGROUND RAILROAD STOP”: From Shiron Wordsworth e-letter to shb 8 Oct 2004: “The slave cemetery [above the Henry Langford or Doc Langford Cemetery we had been talking about-shb] may very well have contained some of the Langford slaves. I know that Liberty had moved his slave concubine and two daughters to Ohio before the war. They appear in the 1860 Census. I’ve also learned that the Langford House, the one built in 1790, was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Go figure that, if you can. The slave owning Langfords were assisting fugitive slaves on their journey to freedom! Understanding the Langfords of Rockcastle County can bring on a migraine. But that fact sort of confirms the Langford Union sympathies during the war. And in the account of gg-grandfather James’ flight from the KKK, it says that one of his ex-slaves took a brutal beating that night rather than reveal where James was hiding. And he was living on James’ land at the time the event occurred.” -shb 8 Oct 2004 [See notes of Liberty Langford for information about his slave family that he apparently encouraged to flee and settle in Ohio (I’m quite sure I found them in the 1860 Census, 4 Feb 2006-read all about it!)]. -shb 5 Feb 2006

MORE ABOUT THE “UNDERGROUND RAILROAD” STOP: From letter by Shiron Wordsworth, answering some of my questions, 3 Feb 2006: “At least three published sources say that Langford Station was a stop on the Underground Railroad. At some point in time, the McFerron family bought the house. But we need to know who owned it just prior to the Civil War…Langfords or McFerrons. In any case, Liberty Langford did send his slave family north prior to the war. And James H. Langford was killed by the Klan at about the same time as his son, Liberty (named for his grandpa), was killed. It’s an assumption at this point in time, that Liberty2 was also killed as a result of the same Klan warfare. The Mt. Vernon Historical Society has a record of the Klan’s first visit to James H. Langford’s house. It confirms what the family legend says about switches being left on James’ front porch as a warning. This raid took place in 1868. What it also says is that James shot through his front door and killed the Klan leader, James Y. Clark. Rockcastle County And It’s People, a book published in 1992, records an account of James Langford running from the Klan one night and being saved by the faithfulness of a former slave, Uncle Alf, who would not disclose James’ whereabouts. Since my great-grandfather, Elza was born in 1876, and since his mother, Mary Ann Dameron Langford, is the head of the household in the 1880 census, James must have been killed sometime between 1876 and 1880. I have one undocummented source that says that Liberty2 was killed in 1878.

“Interestingly enough, I found evidence that the Bethurums, too, were having problems with the Klan at about the same time. The magazine Kentucky Explorer, Volume 19, Number 1 – May 2004 has a transcription of an article that appeared in The Danville Advocate dated Saturday, July 7, 1877. This article is in the Kentucky Historical Library. The newspaper story records that a group of Klansmen numbering between 80 and 100 made a raid on James Bethurum’s house four miles from Mt. Vernon. The article is completely in sympathy with the Klan and labels James Bethurum as a criminal. As far as I’m concerned any enemy of the Klan had to be on the side of virtue no matter what the newspapers of the time said or the Klan for that matter. The accusations against James Bethurum made in this article are, in my opinion, nothing more than Klan propaganda. I’ve attached a part of this article so that you can see it.

MORE ABOUT THE STEPHEN LANGFORD HOUSE: Letter from Shi Wordsworth to shb, 18 Feb 2006: “It’s fine to use the name ‘Langford Station’ as the name for the stop on the Uunderground Railroad. That fact is not only documented in a newspaper article but also in a history of the county, and even in a book of Kentucky history trivia. So there’s no problem using that name if you want.

“I should have sent you this earlier, but I had too many irons in the fire. In the book Rockcastle County, Kentucky And It’s People 1992, Langford Station is pictured. It’s obviously the same house as the one in the photo your mother took. Here’s the entire write up [Shiron’s comments in brackets, like this-shb]:

“‘Langford Station is most likely the oldest log house which, until recent years, stood on the embankment just back of the courthouse in Mt. Vernon.

“‘It is known as the Bob McFerron house now. The house was occupied in the beginning by Stephen Langford. He was supposed to have been the builder of the house, although there is some doubt about that. [Doubt which was caused by the Democratic editor I mentioned, but we will wait until the facts are uncovered to fight that battle. I will concede the battle only when there is a certified document stating in no uncertain terms that someone other than a Langford built that house. Besides, even the Democratic editor will only go so far as to say that another Langford built the thing, one of Stephen’s grandsons. By the time Stephen’s grandson would have built that house, there would have been no need for portholes to shoot at Indians. For crying out loud! ]

“‘Bob McFerron’s daughter, Ruth McFerron Leach, bought the house in later years. She had the house taken down and saved the logs. On taking the home down, they discovered that it had been used as part of the underground railroad. This was the way slaves were transported from the South to the North to freedom. [Grandmom knew Ruth McFerron.]

“The house had many secret trap doors throughout. It had a big cellar used to hide the slaves. The logs taken out of the home were used to build some of the buildings at Ft. Boonesboro, [sp] Ky. The old chimney still stands today, behind the courthouse, The property still belongs to the McFerron heirs.’ Submitted by Joyce McFerron Lark

“This is what the County’s history says about the house. David photocopied this for me, and unlike him, he didn’t photocopy the page with all the publication data. I think it’s a publication that was sponsored by the Rockcastle County Historical Society. For sure the book was printed in 1992. The above quote appears on page 16.

“Certainly it hurt to lose a valuable asset. But the fact that the slaves weren’t the sole basis for the Langford’s economic prosperity is probably a contributing factor to their work with the Underground Railroad. I want to think that their aims were noble, if, in fact, it’s noble to be both slave holder and freedom fighter at one and the same time.

“Personally, I think such a stance would give me a migraine the size of a Swiss Alp. But that very fact tells me that there are still mysteries to be solved and things to be unburied about the Langfords in Rockcastle. It’s the unknowns that make them so blamed much fun. If I had normal ancestors, I think I would be slightly disappointed and probably very bored. Daniel Boone is my great-uncle, and he’s not even remotely as much fun as the Langfords. Certainly I’m proud of him, but there’s not much mystery to his escapades.

“Were the Langfords simply lecherous masters making babies with their helpless slave girls? Were they secret yet principled participants in the cause of abolition? Did they continue to keep slaves during the 1850s as a ‘front’ for their illegal activities on the Underground Railroad? Or were they simply schizophrenic and felt one way Monday and another way on Tuesday, and, therefore, they sent their personal slaves to work the fields during the daylight hours while helping other people’s slaves to freedom at midnight? Go figure!

“Exaggerated humor aside, there are some missing pieces of the puzzle concerning the Langfords and their relationship with their personal slaves in particular and the institution of slavery in general. James H. Langford’s life was saved by a former slave named Uncle Alf one dark night in Rockcastle County long after the Civil War was over. The Klan was hot on the trail of that Langford, and this vulnerable ex-slave refused to disclose James’ hiding place. Uncle Alf was roughed up because of his pretended ignorance as to where James had gone to ground. I have to wonder what precipitated such courage and loyalty on the part of Uncle Alf. There’s something more to this story. I just haven’t discovered it yet.

By the way, the story of James and Uncle Alf also appears in the above mentioned book [the rest here, censored, at her request-shb]. 🙂

“Flint Langford’s great-granddaughter [she calls R. Elza “Flint”–shb]

“Rowdy Shi” -shb

DESCENDANT TALKS ABOUT STEPHEN’S HOUSE:  Julie Goodwin, a descendant of Mt. Vernon Stephen, found my blog, and I was delighted, 26 June 2007, to see her comment in my box:  New comment on your post #73 “Stephen Lankford (b. VA, d. 1811, m. __, 2) Lois Mullins), Early Mount Vernon Settler [not “First Settler”, as thought earlier–shb], Rockcastle, Kentucky”; Author : julie goodwin; E-mail  [protected here–I have placed it in Stephen the 1st’s blind file–shb]:

“I read through this. My grandmother is still alive and 95. her great grandfather was Stephen Langford. She is of this family. She often talks about Mt. Vernon. Please contact me if possible. I may be able to help.

“She often talks of the big house on Rockcastle River that was built and torn down. This is not the original langford home in Mt. Vernon. It was a  mansion right by the river she said. She recalls it as a small child. It was owned by her grandfather Jonathon Langford. Stephen was his father. My grandmothers father’s name was Emmett. Loved reading this. She often
talked about how they owned 1 or 2 territories that encompassed the Cumberland Gap.

“Look forward to hearing from you.” –shb 27 June 2007 [Note:  Jeff Davis compiled a descendancy for Julie that, briefly outlined, is like this:  “Robert Patton [Peyton?–shb] Langford and Mary Hammons’ son Johnathan Smith Langford and Mary Dickson’s son, Emmett Smith Langford and Minnie Stokes’ daughter, Ethel Langford, is Julie’s grandmother.  See Ethel’s notes, my Legacy ID 71402, for continuing correspondence with Julie–shb.]

THREE MT. VERNON LANGFORD HOUSES.  After corresponding with Julie Goodwin about her family’s house on the Rockcastle River, I asked local historian Jeff Renner to differentiate among the three prominent Langford houses in Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle, Kentucky, that had been discussed in various communications.  His response, 28 June 2007:  “The three ‘Langford’ houses are: 1. Julie’s family’s down on the river between Skeggs Creek and Livingston [see Julie’s correspondence, above–shb]; 2. The Tip Langford House which was adjacent to Elmwood Cemetery in Mt.Vernon; 3. The McFerron House which (I believe) was Stephen Langford’s. It was across from the courthouse and is the one the paintings were based upon [he refers to several paintings that were won by various Langfords in the lottery at the Stephen Langford Memorial Reunion, held 27 Mar 2007, one of which my sister Virginia won and gave me.  This two-level McFerron house, thought to have been inhabited by the first Stephen Langford, had a chimney on both sides, as viewed from the front, and an upper level porch across its whole front.  The original log structure was faced and painted white.–shb].

“All three have been torn down. All three were very old (age was probably inverse of the order I listed them in above). Jeff”  –shb 29 June 2007

HISTORY OF THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD IN KENTUCKY/LEVI COFFIN MENTIONED.  As posted at   , accessed 26 Apr 2007, by shb [underlining mine–shb]:

“Kentucky and the Underground Railroad

Having inherited the slavery ideology of Virginia, from which the state had been formed, Kentucky in 1798 adopted a slave code that defined slaves as “chattel,” thereby denying them basic rights—including citizenship, education, legal marriages, and control over property and even their own bodies. Even though various groups of Kentuckians made attempts, based primarily on religious doctrine, to end slavery, the tremendous wealth and status offered by slavery lured many poor whites to seek their fortunes through the trafficking of slaves.

Developing research now indicates that Kentucky slaves were instrumental in creating resistance to slavery themselves, expressing their longing for freedom through such cultural means as African-inspired religion; humor; crafts, including the quilts that historians are examining for coded messages related to the Underground Railroad; and the arts. Running away was the most extreme, most hazardous, and therefore the least often chosen form of resistance. Kentucky’s role in aiding that resistance is only now being explored.

The Underground Railroad is defined by the National Park Service as “a secret system—sometimes spontaneous, sometimes highly organized—to assist persons held in bondage in North America to escape from slavery.” It is generally believed that the term “underground railroad” came into use as a result of the growth in the railroad industry during the 1820s.

Most enslaved Africans who traveled the Underground Railroad are credited with beginning their journeys unaided and completing their emancipation without assistance. Each decade in which slavery was legal in the United States is said to have increased both the public perception of a secretive network and the number of people willing to give aid to escaping slaves.(1)

According to the 1998 Park Service Theme Study, the Colonial era offered enslaved Africans more opportunities to escape than did the more settled and legally restrictive American society of the 19th century. The study concluded that there were more runaways before the American Revolution than afterward. Many of these Colonial slaves escaped to form “maroon” colonies in the sea islands, the Appalachian Mountains, the Caribbean, and South America. Escapes to Spanish Florida and Mexico also offered slaves the chance to gain their freedom.

Although these early escapes are well known, the operating period for the Underground Railroad is normally considered by historians to be the years between 1830 and 1865. This period has been selected and promoted by the National Park Service as the time frame when most anti-slavery advocates abandoned their hope for gradual emancipation and adopted the immediate abolition of slavery as their goal. Although often divided on racial understanding and tolerance, the abolitionists in general are credited with successfully expanding a network of collaborators.(2)

Kentucky represented the last slave state before freedom in the North. The state had more than 700 miles of border with free states, spread over 24 counties(3)—all within a 75-mile radius of some of Kentucky’s largest slave-holding centers. In addition, Cincinnati and many surrounding towns to its north and east contained large Quaker and anti-slavery Presbyterian and Methodist communities, as well as some 400 free black residents. The same can be said of several Indiana and Illinois communities. Those factors combined to make Kentucky a great pass-through state for Africans escaping to freedom. One scholar has estimated that approximately 300 slaves per year escaped from Kentucky, based on claims for stolen slave property. That number does not count those who were retrieved by slave catchers and returned to the state.(4)

Up until 1847, most of the fugitives from Kentucky vanished into stations in the “colored” quarters of Cincinnati.(5) The known active opposition to slavery in that city and the various religious communities’ continued aid to fugitive slaves, as well as steamboat and rail connections to both North and South, served as key factors in establishing this escape route for fugitives. Quakers, Methodists, and Presbyterians established an underground network encompassing Kenton, Campbell, Bracken, Mason, and Lewis counties in Kentucky and Hamilton, Clermont, Brown, and Adams counties directly across the river in Ohio.

Passage of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act only increased the number of slaves who not only escaped from and through Kentucky, but also continued their journey on to Canada. Several slave narratives document escapes by slaves from other Northern Kentucky communities who passed through the Covington or Newport stations on their way to Canada. One such slave history includes the story of Lucie and Thornton Blackburn, a Kentucky slave couple escaping to start a new life in Canada. Fugitives from Louisville, the Blackburns had been captured in Detroit and were to be returned to a life of slavery when they were rescued during the first race riot in the history of the city, in 1833. Despite two attempts at extradition by Michigan’s acting governor, they were freed and subsequently made their home in Toronto. In 1836, the couple founded that city’s first taxi business, and they were active in African-Canadian abolitionist and self-help organizations.(6)

Another well-known story of escape is that of Kentucky slave Margaret Garner. Her story received national prominence when she and her husband, Robert, escaped with their four children from a Richwood, Kentucky plantation to Cincinnati, only to be recaptured in 1853. As the pursuers closed in, Margaret killed one of her own children rather than see it sent back to slavery. The ensuing legal battle over whether Margaret should be charged with murder (which would have put her in jail, but out of reach of her owner) became a cause célèbre. Her story later became the basis for the Toni Morrison novel and Oprah Winfrey movie Beloved, as well as Dr. Steve Weisenberger’s book Modern Medea: A Family Story of Slavery and Child-Murder in the Old South (Hill and Wang, 1998).

Operating with funds from the Kentucky African American Heritage Commission, the University of Kentucky Archaeological Survey, in conjunction with Kentucky State University’s Center of Excellence for the Study of African Americans (CESKAA), undertook excavation of the plantation site in Richwood where Margaret Garner was a slave. The purpose of the survey was to document the site and search for any remaining evidence of Garner’s life on the Richwood plantation. The findings are available from the Kentucky Archaeological Survey, (859) 257-5173, or from CESKAA, (502) 227-6315.

In 1849, Henry Bibb, a fugitive Kentucky slave, described his restless yearning for freedom in his autobiography: “Sometimes standing on the Ohio River bluff, looking over on a free State, and as far north as my eyes could see, I have eagerly gazed upon the blue sky of the free North … that I might soar away to where there is no slavery; no clanking of chains, no captives, no lacerating of backs, no parting of husbands and wives; and where man ceases to be the property of his fellow man.” Bibb believed that he “was in a far worse state than Egyptian bondage; for they had houses and land; I had none; they had oxen and sheep; I had none; they had a wise counsel, to tell them what to do, and where to go, and even to go with them; I had none. I was surrounded by opposition on every hand. My friends were few and far between. I have often felt when running away as if I had scarcely a friend on earth.”(7)

According to the 1998 Underground Railroad Theme Study published by the National Park Service, scholars and researchers estimate that about 100,000 persons successfully escaped slavery between 1790 and 1860.(8) The study goes on to say:

“We may be sure that the numbers were not the same each year, as individual opportunity varied at all times. The secrecy which necessarily surrounded the slave runaway means that we cannot know of many escapes which, for many reasons, went unrecorded in the North or the South. While census estimates indicate an average of 1,000 successful runaways a year, it is reasonable, given the secretive nature of the enterprise, to increase that number by half to 1,500. This number is in harmony with other scholarly estimates of 1,500 persons running to freedom during the late antebellum years. Although it is not clear whether the percentage of slave escapes, based on a rising slave population, changed much from decade to decade, it was more difficult to elude patrols and slave catchers in the settled eastern United States after 1820.”

The Underground Railroad gradually became a more elaborate system as slavery was abolished above the Mason-Dixon Line and above 36º 30′ in the western territories. The lines were more clearly drawn between slave-holding and non-slave-holding territory, and the direction for fugitives was clearer.(9)

Stations and Conductors

Kentucky native Josiah Henson became one of the best-known “conductors” for the Cincinnati “station” on the Underground Railroad. He is known to have conducted at least 30 slaves from the region below and surrounding Maysville, Kentucky through Levi Coffin’s Cincinnati “depot.”(10)

Coffin himself, celebrated as the “president of the Underground Railroad,” had left North Carolina and settled in Newport, Indiana in 1826, where he noted that “fugitives often passed through that place and generally stopped among the colored people.” Coffin later continued his activities in Cincinnati. James G. Birney, while in Cincinnati, observed that “such matters are almost uniformly managed by the colored people. I know nothing of them generally till they are past.”(11)

Old Washington, in Mason County, Kentucky, is home to the Harriet Beecher Stowe Slavery to Freedom Museum, where it is said Harriet Beecher Stowe was inspired to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin or, Life Among the Lowly while a guest at the home of Marshall Key.

The nearby town of Ripley, Ohio, once nearly the rival of Cincinnati in prosperity, was at least the equal of Cincinnati in Underground Railroad activity. The most active and prominent individuals giving aid to fugitives were John Parker and John Rankin. They were assisted by various other families in the community, although by no means was it an antislavery town in general.(12)

Oberlin College, the model for Kentucky’s Berea College, and Lane Seminary in Cincinnati served as successful abolitionist centers used in aiding the escape of Kentucky slaves. The best known Oberlin graduate in Kentucky became Methodist abolitionist minister Calvin Fairbank. Tried and imprisoned after assisting in the successful escape of Kentucky slaves, Fairbanks served 17 years in the Kentucky State Penitentiary, along with other Kentuckians imprisoned for the same crime. James Pritchard, Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives, is researching Kentuckians imprisoned for aiding the escape of slaves. Former Maysville, Kentucky resident Dr. Randy Runyon, currently a Professor at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and Joel Strangis, a former Fayette County administrator and educator, have recently published books on such other notable Kentucky Underground Railroad figures as Lewis Hayden and Delia Webster.

Information regarding Kentucky Underground Railroad sites, escaping slaves, and abolitionist activity is a rapidly developing area of interest, both in Kentucky and around the nation. International, national, and regional efforts of the National Park Service, local historical societies, and archaeologists have caused America to once again seek to examine this secretive part of its history.

1. United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service Theme Study, September 1998.
2. Ibid, 1998: 1
3. Ballard, McCracken, Livingston, Crittenden, Union, Henderson, Daviess, Hancock, Breckinridge, Meade, Jefferson, Oldham, Trimble, Carroll, Gallatin, Boone, Kenton, Campbell, Pendleton, Bracken, Mason, Lewis, Greenup, and Boyd counties
4. See Lowell H. Harrison, The Antislavery Movement in Kentucky (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1978) for a list of slave memoirs with Kentucky origins and for biographies of antislavery Kentuckians. Harrison’s estimate of escapes is on page 86.
5. Siebert, Mysteries of Ohio’s Underground Railroad.
6. Information on the Blackburn family is taken from the ongoing research of Karolyn Smardz, History Department, University of Waterloo.
7. As quoted in Our Kentucky, III.
8. Daniel Meaders, Advertisements for Runaway Slaves in Virginia, 1801-1820. New York: Garland Publishing Company, 1997, p. 37.
9. Larry Gara, The Liberty Line: The Legend of the Underground Railroad. Reprint ed. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1996, p. 32.
10. Siebert, Mysteries of Ohio’s Underground Railroad, p. 41.
11. Foner, History of Black America, p. 480.
12. Stuart Seely Sprague, His Promised Land: The Autobiography of John P. Parker. New York: W.W. Norton, 1996. Randolph Paul Runyon, Delia Webster and the Underground Railroad. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1996.

1794, MARCH 18–“STEPHEN LANGFORD” IS NAMED IN TRANSACTION: Lincoln County, Virginia/Kentucky Deed Abstracts 1781-1795, Vol. 1, compiled by Ann Pennington MacKinnon, Peggy Selby Galloway, and Michael C Watson (1998), searched by shb, 16 Jun 2006, at the FHL, Salt Lake City, UT (Call # 976.9625/R28m)” “17 MARCH 1794, WRITTEN 17 March 1794-Thomas Owsley of Lincoln to Frederick Baker of same county…200 acres…for 115 pounds…on Dick’s River, being a part of Treasury Warrant number 13,092….Peter Sidebottom…Stephen Langford… Witness: Jno. Vaugn, William Pearl, Hardy Rawls. Signed. Teste: Willis Green. Page 318.” [Note: Re. the witness named “Jno. Vaugn,” above, Jerusha Vaughn married Isaac Faris, 1778, in Virginia-shb.] -shb 10 Jun 2006

1797, AUGUST 8–MOTION CONCERNS ROAD. Lincoln County, Kentucky Records, Vol. III, compiled by Bettie Cummings Cook (Evansville, Indiana: Cook Publications), searched by shb, 22 Jun 2006, at the FHL, Salt Lake City, Utah (Call No. 976.9625/v28c/v.3), p. 158: “Book 5, p. 127, On the motion of STEPHEN LANGFORD, ordered that JOHN WILKINSON, ANTHONY OWSLEY, JAMES RENFRO and VALENTINE HARMAN, or any three of them, view the best way for a road from the county line near WOOLDRIDGE’s lick on Copper Creek to intersect the State Road to Cumberland Gap, at or near Langford’s.” -shb 9 July 2006

1797, OCTOBER 10–COURT APPOINTS STEPHEN LANKFORD ROAD OVERSEER. Lincoln County, Kentucky Records, Vol. III, compiled by Bettie Cummings Cook (Evansville, Indiana: Cook Publications), searched by shb, 22 Jun 2006, at the FHL, Salt Lake City, Utah (Call No. 976.9625/v28c/v.3), p. 162: “Book 5, p. 136, JAMES RENFRO, SR., is appointed overseer of the road from WOOLDRIDGE’s Lick to JAMES RENFRO, JR.” [next item] Book 5, p. 136, STEPHEN LANKFORD is appointed overseer of the road from land of JAMES RENFRO, JR., to where it interesects the State road.” [next item] “Book 5, p. 136, JOHN JAMES is appointed to allot the tithes to assist JAMES RENFRO, SR., and STEPHEN LANKFORD.” -shb 9 July 2006

1797, OCTOBER 10–STEPHEN NAMED IN SAME COURT SESSION (SEE ABOVE) WHERE JOSEPH LANKFORD’S DAUGHTER “SALLY LANGFORD” CHOOSES JOHN[SON] FARRIS AS GUARDIAN. Lincoln County, Kentucky Records, Vol. III, compiled by Bettie Cummings Cook (Evansville, Indiana: Cook Publications), searched by shb, 22 Jun 2006, at the FHL, Salt Lake City, Utah (Call No. 976.9625/v28c/v.3), p. 163: “Book 5, p. 137, SALLY LANGFORD came into Court and made choice of JOHN FARRIS as her guardian, whereupon he executed his bond of 200 pounds with WILLIAM ALLEN his surety.” -shb 9 July 2006 [Note: Does the fact that Stephen Lankford and Joseph Lankford’s daughter appeared in the same court, same day indicate a relationship between the two men? As indicated by Shi Wordsworth, earlier, in referring to this case (as told her by another researcher, this would seem to indicate that Mary, Joseph’s wife, died before this court session-shb.] -shb 9 July 2006

1797, OCTOBER 10–CHARLES WARREN NAMED IN SAME COURT SESSION. See above two court entries. Same “P. 137, On the motion of GEORGE FINLEY, ordered that HENRY OWSLEY, WILLIAM MENIFEE, HARDY RALLS and CHARLES WARREN, or any three of them, view the best way for a road from Owsley’s Mill to where the road leading from Madison County Courthouse to the Crab Orchard crosses Dicks River.” This Charles Warren is either an ancestor of shb (in his early 40s) or his son, Charles (early 20s). In the next entry, the Court set county rates for taverns-of interest, since Charles Warren (probably the elder) had recently been licensed to keep a tavern-shb.]

DESCENDANTS RESPOND: E-letter from Shiron Wordsworth (thought to be a descendant of Stephen-see “RELATIONSHIP” tab, top of these notes) to shb, 9 July 2006, on receiving the above information about relatives named in the 10 Oct 1797 court session: “Great stuff, Sherlene! Thanks for sending your hard work!!! According to the researcher [Shi says he doesn’t want his name divulged-shb], Mary was living with Johnson Farris and Jenny at the time of her death, so it makes sense that Sally would want to continue to live with John Farris as her guardian.

“Part of what the researcher is doing with his book on the Wilderness Road will restore Stephen’s rightful place as one of the builders of that road. So these entries make sense.

“Isn’t it odd that in the list of tavern prices, food was, in most cases, less expensive than liquor. These pioneers had their priorities straight, now didn’t they. Well I guess!

“Mom and Dad take Mary Caroline [her niece-shb] back to Rockcastle each year for the big Christmas show at The Renfro Vally Barn Dance. They have to get tickets nearly a year in advance as well as their motel reservations. Caroline’s ambition is to sing one day at the Barn Dance. She’s young yet. And there’s always hope that she will decide to be a lawyer or a doctor or something. But if not, she willl be back in her forefathers’ stomping ground. 😉

“The researcher said that there is a deed granted by Stephen Langford to someone, can’t remember who, in Renfro Valley.

“Thanks for sharing this! At least we know for sure where Sally and Stephen Langford along with Johnson Farris were on 10 October 1797. Somehow it pleases me to know that. Their President was some fellow named John Adams. Imagine… President Adams. Awesome!

“And poor Thomas Langford still had 14 months left to him before he met the awful Harpes from hell. Somehow, putting these things in perspective makes history live for me.

“Thanks! Shi.” -shb 10 July 2006

FROM BOB LANGFORD: John Robert or “Bob” Langford is a recent correspondent (“introduced” via e-mail by Shi) who is also thought to be a descendant of Stephen Langford (see “RELATIONSHIP” tab, above. On being copied to my letter to Shi, he responds, 9 July 2006:

“Sounds like rot gut liquor at that price.

“What is the exchange rate for a Shilling and a Pence?

“Pretty interesting stuff, Sherlene. Jolly good show!

“You made me hungry and thirsty.

“The Colonel” -shb 10 July 2006 [See his notes, ID 66202, for more of his humor, writing, faith, belief, philosophy, and photos of his rooster Rambo and “Red,” his antique car.]

SOME IMAGININGS: Here is an excerpt from a letter to our Langfords, 11 July 2006, that tells a little about the layout of towns and some of my thoughts about associations of our ancestors and relatives:

“. . . . Attached [also to Stephen’s media file-shb] is a drawing of the Logan Fort site, where the original Lincoln County courthouse was built in 1786 (the case involving Sally’s guardianship and mention of Charles and Stephen took place eleven years later, on 10 Oct
1797). This drawing was posted at <,&gt;
with this label: ‘Original courthouse on this site was in 1786. Records contained in this
building date back in 1779, some written on sheepskin. The Fiscal Court room contains some
of the finest portraits of Lincoln County judges.’ [You might want to go to the site to see
the drawing, as it did not copy over very well-shb.]

“Stanford was named [sic-shb] for Benjamin Logan, a hero among early settlers for successfully fighting off Indian attacks. Logans Fort was located near the existing Stanford downtown district, and Stanford became the County seat. Crab Orchard is a small town in eastern Lincoln County, located about ten miles southeast of Stanford. Several sites say that Crab Orchard was probably named for a stand of crab apple trees, which delights me, since Dan and I unknowingly planted a crab apple in our front yard 10-15 years ago that is a source of delight in spring for it’s lovely, fragrant pink blooms and, in fall, for it’s bright-colored leaves. (However, it’s a royal pain, otherwise, to have to clean up mounds of tiny fallen tiny apples that attract deer to our front yard in winter, if we don’t get every single one up before the snows fall). Anybody have a good crab-apple pickle recipe or other good use for this miniature fruit?

“My Langford mother also had a crab apple tree in her yard, but I think she took it out because she got tired of cleaning up the fallen fruit. Perhaps on first planting it, she knew its historical significance.

“Crab Orchard was at the end of Logan’s Trace of the Wilderness Road and was an early pioneer station. There are several mineral springs in the area, and from 1827 until 1922 taverns and hotels were located at Crab Orchard Springs. Charles Warren was granted a license to keep a tavern on 18 Oct 1796, nearly a year before this 1797session where Sally chose her guardian. I’m wondering if his tavern was in Crab Orchard, since his daughter Mary Polly married our Walker Lankford, who hailed from there.

“I like to think that Stephen came down the Wilderness road that day with a carriage drawn by fine Kentucky horses, attended by one of his slaves. Perhaps along the way he picked up the rest (including, perhaps, Walker (son of Joseph),Walker’s sisters Sally and Jenny, and Jenny’s husband, John[son] Farris. Did Charles Warren join them, since his name was also mentioned, on a road matter, in court that day? (His daughter Mary/Polly Warren, age 13-17 at the time, married Walker Lankford, September 1800, nearly three years later).

“How long do you think it took a horse and carriage to travel ten miles on an October day? I can see them returning to Crab Orchard for a Kentucky chicken picnic near a stand of red-leafed crab applie trees-perhaps staying to visit longer and lodge with their Crab Orchard relatives.

“Sherlene” -shb 11 July 2006

1797, NOVEMBER 14–PAID WOLF SCALP BOUNTY: Lincoln County, Kentucky Records, Vol. III, compiled by Bettie Cummings Cook (Evansville, Indiana: Cook Publications), searched by shb, 22 Jun 2006, at the FHL, Salt Lake City, Utah (Call No. 976.9625/v28c/v.3), p. 163: “Book 5, p. 166, To SAMUEL STOCKSSTILL, STEPHEN LANGFORD, JAMES GIVENS, VALENTINE HARMAN and ELIJAH SMITH, for wolf scalp bounties.” -shb 10 July 2006

1798, JULY 10–ROAD ASSIGNMENT: Lincoln County, Kentucky Records, Vol. III, compiled by Bettie Cummings Cook (Evansville, Indiana: Cook Publications), searched by shb, 22 Jun 2006, at the FHL, Salt Lake City, Utah (Call No. 976.9625/v28c/v.3), p. 176: “P. 159, On the motion of JAMES GILMORE, it is ordered that STEPHEN LANGFORD, VALENTINE HARMON, JOHN PAXTON and JOHN HOPPER, or any three of them, view the best way for a road from the mouth of Brush Creek on Buck Creek to intersect the State Road at or near Stephen Langford’s.” -shb 11 July 2006

1798, OCTOBER 9–ROAD TO STEPHEN’S LAND. Lincoln County, Kentucky Records, Vol. III, compiled by Bettie Cummings Cook (Evansville, Indiana: Cook Publications), searched by shb, 22 Jun 2006, at the FHL, Salt Lake City, Utah (Call No. 976.9625/v28c/v.3), p. 181: “P. 165B, The persons appointed to view the best way for a road from JOHN HOPPER’s on Buck Creek to STEPHEN LANKFORD’s, returned their report. That the road can be made by passing through JOHN HOPPER’s land and JAMES GILMORE’s land, and JOHN PRESTON’s, SILL ADAMS’s, and THOMAS McELWEE’s, ELIJAH SMITH’s, JOHN McCULLOUGH’s, JOHN MILLER’s, JAMES KNOX’s, and BELL’s, and WILLIAM CANNEFAX’s, and VALENTINE HARMON’s land. Ordered that the Sheriff summon those persons through whose land the road would pass.” -shb 11 July 2006

1798, NOVEMBER 14, 1794–LAND MENTIONED. Lincoln County, Kentucky Records, Vol. III, compiled by Bettie Cummings Cook (Evansville, Indiana: Cook Publications), searched by shb, 22 Jun 2006, at the FHL, Salt Lake City, Utah (Call No. 976.9625/v28c/v.3), p. 188: “p. 176B, The Sheriff returned that he had summoned the land owners through whose land the road would pass from HOPPER’s on Buck Creek to LANGFORD’s on the state road, except for JAMES KNOX, THOMAS McELWEE and JOHN MILLER. Ordered that an alias summons issue against these three land owners.” -shb 12 July 2006

1798–NEW PULASKI COUNTY, KENTUCKY BOUNDARIES NOTE STEPHEN LANKFORD’S LAND: A History of Pulaski County, Kentucky, compiled by Alma Owens Tibbals (Bagdad, Kentucky: Grace Owens Moore), 1952, p. 6: “Pulaski County is Formed – Organization: Pulaski County, located in the south-central part of the state, was the twenty-seventh county formed in Kentucky. It was created by an Act of the General Assembly, December 10, 1798-to begin June, 1799-out of territory belonging to Lincoln and Green counties. It came into existence as an answer to the petitions from citizens, who lived a great distance from the county seats. [By the way, I got a copy of the petition that was signed by Stephen Langford on May 30, 1782-still to come-also found a petition signed by our Yoacoms, so it’s fun to see that they were politically active, though their names were just printed in the book (I did not get to see their original signatures)-shb.]

“The Act passed by the Assembly read: ‘That from and after the first day of June next, all that part of the counties of Lincoln and Green, included in the following boundary, to wit,-beginning at the mouth of Rockcastle, thence up the same four[teen*-shb] miles, where reduced to a straight line, above the reserve line; thence to the dividing ridge between Skegg’s Creek and Buck Creek where the road crossing [sick-crosses?-shb] Stephen Lankford’s to Buck Creek; thence a straight line to the Round knobs; thence south forty-five degrees west to the present line between Green and Lincoln; thence to the proposed new county east line taken from Green; thence with the said line to the state line; thence along said line so far that a north line will strike the beginning, shall be one distinct county, and called and known by the name Pulaski; and all the residue of the said counties shall retain the names Lincoln and Green.’

*[Note: My brother-in-law, Barry D. Wood, who is a map lover, on reading this, replied 11 Feb 2006: “Also, looking at my atlas, I see that the mouth of Rockcastle River (where it joins the Cumberland River) is the southeastern boundary of Pulaski County now, and where the county boundary leaves the River is fourteen (not four) crow-flying miles above that point.
“The ‘new county’ mentioned here as being taken from Green County is Cumberland. None of Russell, Clinton, Adair, McCreary or Wayne existed yet. Thus, Pulaski really did extend all the way to the Tennessee line.

“You can see the county evolution via the maps at
<;. Just click on the year… like 1797 shows the “before,” and 1798 shows the changes made that year.

“McCreary County was the last formed in Kentucky… 1920. There are also links here to brief histories of each of the counties, which, at least in the case of Pulaski & McCreary, confirm that these counties were Republican strongholds in the early days.

“The ‘master’ site I use to access these is “” (for ‘southeastern genealogy).”-shb]

“The Assembly named the county in honor of Count Casimir Pulaski, a Polish officer who came over to assist our forefathers in their struggle for freedom.” [There have been boundary changes since, some of which are also detailed-shb.]

1799, MARCH 12–LAND MENTIONED. Lincoln County, Kentucky Records, Vol. III, compiled by Bettie Cummings Cook (Evansville, Indiana: Cook Publications), searched by shb, 22 Jun 2006, at the FHL, Salt Lake City, Utah (Call No. 976.9625/v28c/v.3), p. 193: “p. 183, MICHAEL SOWDER is appointed overseer of the road from LANGFORD’s to the dividing ridge between Scaggs Creek and Brush Creek where the Pulaski county line will cross said ridge.” -shb 12 July 2006

1800–BLACK POPULATION: Stephen Lankford was known to be a slave holder, though as Shiron Wordsworth explains, few Kentuckians had large numbers of slaves, as the terrain did not support large plantations. According to the introduction to a revised version of Local Historical Research Book, compiled by a class in local history conducted by Woodrow Allen at Somerset Community College, found and searched by shb, 16 Jun 2006, at the FHL, Salt Lake City, Utah (Catalog No. 976.963/H2p), the “population of Kentucky in 1800 was 220,955. The leading town in the State was Lexington with 1,795 people, followed by Frankfort with 628. The census takers returned twenty-nine towns with a separate enumeration. Louisville was fifth with 359. There were 41,082 persons of color who were either free or slaves.” -shb 20 Jun 2006

1800 COUNTY LAYOUT: This information would apply only to the last decade of Stephen’s life, but is of interest. The above research, as compiled by Woodrow Allen’s class, says this of the formation of Pulaski County and places it in proportion to Rockcastle and other area counties: “The portion of Kentucky which became Pulaski County in 1798 lies in the south central part of the State along the Cumberland River, one tier of counties lying between it and the Tennessee line, and is bounded on the north by Lincoln and Rockcastle Counties; on the east by Rockcastle and Laurel, on the south by McCreary and Wayne, and on the west by Russell and Casey. It is drained by the Cumberland and Rockcastle Rivers, and by South Fork, White Oak, Buck, Pitman and Fishing Creeks. . . . The natural features and resources were so well distributed over the county that one section was hardly more attractive to settlement than another. The streams and springs determined largely the location of each early settlement.

“Pulaski County was created out of parts of Green and Lincoln Counties by the General Assembly, December 10, 1798. It came into being in answer to the petitions from the people of Lincoln and Green who lived so far from their respective county seats of Stanford and Greensburg that it was difficuilt for them to get into the county seats to carry on necessary business. Poor roads was another reason that prompted them to seek a nearer seat of government.” -shb 20 Jun 2006

1800–“STEPHEN LANGFORD” SELLS LAND THAT CROSSES DICK’S RIVER [IN LINCOLN COUNTY, KENTUCKY–SHB] TO “CHARLES WARREN, JR.”  LAND INVOLVES DAVIS AND WILLIAM PEARL NEIGHBORS.  [Note:  That same year, in 1800, my ancestor Walker Lankford married Mary/Polly Warren, Charles Jr.’s sister–shb.]

1800, NOVEMBER 15–STEPHEN LANGFORD [JEFF RENNER TELLS US THIS IS EARLY MT. VERNON SETTLER, STEPHEN–NOT HIS GRANDSON, “FLINTLOCK STEPHEN,” OF LICK CREEK, IN PULASKI COUNTY].  MT. VERNON STEPHEN’S DAUGHTER, MARY/POLLY, MARRIED JOHN WARREN, CHARLES JR.’S BROTHER–SHB].  MT. VERNON STEPHEN SELLS LAND TO CHARLES WARREN JR. THAT CROSSES DICK’S RIVER, IN LINCOLN COUNTY, KENTUCKY.  Notes, Lincoln County, Kentucky Deed Books, LDS Film #0192238-41, transcription included in response by Diane Warren Snaidauf (her e-address in Charles Sr.’s blind file), 14 May 2007, to Blog Post #2 of Sherlene Hall Bartholomew [underlining mine–shb]:  “Notes Lincoln Co. KY Deed Books LDS film # 0192238 -41 –

“Vol. B 1800 – 01 Danville office? another un index volume not included in master index for county

“Page 216 15 November 1800 Stephen Langford to Charles Warren Jr. for 100 pounds 200 acres part of a survey of 1500 acres and patent bearing the date of June 8 1799. “Beginning at Ash and Walnut tree at Rawls corner and starting on the river bank thence North 62ºeast 76poles to a stake on Rawl’s line then South 40ºeast 200 poles to a stake on Troutmann’s line then with his line South 33ºwest 70 poles to a stake on Thomas Hutchinson’s line where the two lines cross, thence South 65ºwest 30 poles crossing the Dick’s river to a stake where the said Hutchinson’s line comes nearest to the first bend of the river below where the line crosses the river thence northward running down the river with the different meanders thence to the beginning so that a line from the beginning South 11ºwest 40 poles shall include 2 acres of land in the bend of the river on the west side of the same everything included witnesses Thomas Hutchinson, Daniel Owsley and Henry Owsley.
Filed 13 Jan 1801”

“Book D
P. 164 2 Nov. 1799 Joseph Turner of Pulaski Co. to George Sheeks of Lincoln co. for 200 pounds 1000 acres on Buck Creek witnesses Charles Warren, John Combs David Sheeks.

“Book E

Page 191 This indenture made 13 October 1802 Between Stephen Langford of the county of Lincoln and the commonwealth of Kentucky of the first part and Charles Warren Jr. of the aforesaid said county and commonwealth of the other part Witnessest that the said Steven Landford for and in consideration of the sum of pounds currency of the sate the receipt whereof the said JOHN Langford doth hereby acknowledge hath granted Bargained sold aliened and confirmed unto the said Charles Warren his heirs and assignees forever one certain tract or parcel of land containing 50 acres and part of a survey of acres lying and being in the county of Lincoln and adjoining the land of the said Charles Warren and John Davis and bounded as follows to wit beginning at 3 dogwood corner of William Pearl [Note:  A William Pearl married Viletta, widow of John Lank(s)ford, in 1816–shb], Charles Warren and John Davis thence with the said Warren line North 15ºeast 80 poles to a Maypole and said line thence east 100 poles to a buckeye and hickory near to the bank of the
Lick river lick creek thence south 100º 80 poles to john Davis’s line to a white oak thence with Davis’s line 100 poles that line turning west to the beginning . To have and to Hold the said 50 acres of land with all and every appurtenance unto the said Charles Warren and his heirs and the said Stephen Langford for himself and his heirs doth covenant and agree with the said Charles Warren and with his heirs that the said Langford doth warrant and forever defend the above described tract of land for himself and his heirs forever witness wherefore the said Stephen Langford hath herewith set his hand and seal the above written day and year.
signed sealed and delivered inthe presence of

“Burriss Warren
Charles Warren
James Davis (or Reed?)
John Warren
State of Kentucky Lincoln County this on the 12 day September 1805 this indenture of bargain and sale was proved by the oaths of the within named Charles Warren and Burris Warren on the 8 day of July 1804 by the oath of James Reed where upon I admitted the same to award witness Thomas Montgomery county clerk of Lincoln County, Kentucky”  –shb 15 May 2007

1801, MARCH 9–CLAIMS LAND: Lincoln County, Kentucky Records, Vol. III, compiled by Bettie Cummings Cook (Evansville, Indiana: Cook Publications), searched by shb, 22 Jun 2006, at the FHL, Salt Lake City, Utah (Call No. 976.9625/v28c/v.3), p. 229: “p. 228, STEPHEN LANGFORD claims 200 acres of land for settling and improving the same agreeable to an Act concerning vacant land, and on hearing, it is ordered that the claim be discontinued.” -shb 22 July 2006

1801, MARCH 11–LAND CERTIFICATE FOR SETTLING VACANT LAND GRANTED: Lincoln County, Kentucky Records, Vol. III, compiled by Bettie Cummings Cook (Evansville, Indiana: Cook Publications), searched by shb, 22 Jun 2006, at the FHL, Salt Lake City, Utah (Call No. 976.9625/v28c/v.3), p. 234: “p. 237, STEPHEN LANGFORD claims 200 acres of vacant land agreeably to the Act for settling and improving the same, and satisfactory proof being made that he has made actual settlement and improvement on the land, a certificate is granted him for the 200 acres on the waters of Crooked Creek, at a bend opposite ROBERT BAKER’s and running northwardly.” -shb 22 July 2006

1801, JULY 13–STEPHEN LANKFORD CLAIMS TO HAVE SETTLED VACANT LANDS ON THE SAME DAY AS RICHARD AND ROBERT SINGLETON–ARE THE THREE RELATED? Lincoln County, Kentucky Records, Vol. III, compiled by Bettie Cummings Cook (Evansville, Indiana: Cook Publications), searched by shb, 22 Jun 2006, at the FHL, Salt Lake City, Utah (Call No. 976.9625/v28c/v.3), p. 234: “p. 237B, RICHARD SINGLETON claims 200 acres of vacant land agreeably to the Act for settling and improving the same, and upon satisfactory proof being made that he has actually settled and improved the same, a certificate is granted him for the 200 acres on the waters of the north fork of Rockcastle, bounded by BOONE’s old trace and by Cook’s old saltpeter cave.” –shb 22 July 2006 [Note: Only two items up, on this same page, is an entry for Stephen Langford’s also claiming 200 acres of vacant land “on the waters of Rock Lick Fork of Fishing Creek, bounded by HUNT’s military survey”; next entry, next page, is entry for Robert Singleton, Jr., so Robert and Richard (see my ID No. 68011) are probably related, and perhaps the rumor that Stephen’s first wife was a Singleton makes him related, as well.-shb.]

1801, JULY 13–ROBERT SINGLETON, JR. CLAIMS VACANT LAND. Lincoln County, Kentucky Records, Vol. III, compiled by Bettie Cummings Cook (Evansville, Indiana: Cook Publications), searched by shb, 22 Jun 2006, at the FHL, Salt Lake City, Utah (Call No. 976.9625/v28c/v.3), p. 243: “p. 252, ROBERT SINGLETON, JR., claims 400 acres of vacant land, agreeably to the Act of General Assembly, and satisfactory proof being made that he has actually settled and improved the said land, a certificate is granted him for the 400 acres on a branch of the waters of Buck Creek, bounded by BUCHANAN and by BENJAMIN COLLUM.” -shb 22 July 2006

RELATIVES OFTEN GO TOGETHER TO LAND OFFICE: My note to fellow Langford researchers, 22 July 2006: “I’m still wending my way through the Lincoln Co. Court Records and found it interesting that Stephen Langford and Richard Singleton were doing the same thing on the same page, per Shiron’s interesting lead that Stephen’s first wife may have been a Singleton: [then forwarded the above entries]. Response from Barry D. Wood: “Carol Willsey Bell has made this same point – that relatives often showed up at the land office together to claim new land on the same day.” -shb 22 July 2006

INDICATES THAT STEPHEN WAS THE “TORY STEPHEN”? Response from Shiron Wordsworth, 23 Jul 2006: “You, Sherlene, are an amazing wonder! [I wonder in amazing ways, all right!-shb] This makes the case a bit stronger, I think, that Rockcastle Stephen was also Tory Stephen of Rutherford County, NC. Both Richard and Tory Stephen owned land in Rutherford. Maybe Richard followed his sister and brother-in-law into Rockcastle. By 1801, Stephen had lots and lots of land in what would become Rockcastle County. For sure the saltpeter cave mentioned in Richard’s claim is in Rockcastle.

“You are doing outstanding work. I appreciate you sending these wonderful discoveries my way!

“I don’t want to say I told you so, but I told you so. Didn’t I say that once you were turned loose, the Rockcastle Langfords would have to give up their secrets? Way to go, girlfriend! [What a friend! I’m not letting her disclaim my side of the family, no matter what!] Shi” -shb 23 Jul 2006 [Note: From letter by Shi to shb, 10 Oct 2006: “Rutherford County North Carolina is the county where Stephen’s lands were confiscated. Lincoln is the neighboring county. They were both taken from one county, Old Tryon County. I’m not sure if Buncomb County [I had just told her I was going to go looking there, based on some Langford Pulaski Co. marriage records that indicated Bumcombe as a home county–shb] has any tie to Stephen or Joseph, but maybe.” –shb 12 Oct 2006

JEFF RENNER FINDS STEPHEN LANGFORD TORY DOCUMENT.  E-letter by Jeff Renner, copied to Bob Langford, 24 Nov 2007, who forwarded it, same day, to shb, with this note:  “Very Interesting Jeff! Thanks!  The Battle of Kings Mountain was one of the
pivotal turning points of the war. Stephen definitely made a bad choice then.

On 11/24/07, Jeff Renner wrote: “Bob and Shiron, I found the following while tracking some Tory sources. Jeff” [Note:  Name “William Hall” highlighted by shb (along with a few others that caught my eye)–I am forwarding to a couple of former correspondents whose Hall ancestors had land in Pulaski County,Kentucky, near where Stephen Langford lived–‘have no indication this William connects to my William Halls–shb]:

“William Going was one of 116 Rutherford County men who aligned with the Tories during the Revolutionary War. They served in the defeated army of Lt. Col. Patrick Ferguson in the Battle of Kings Mountain. Because of their action they were charged with treason by the Rutherford County Court, and their property was confiscated by the state. It is assumed that all of these men fled the state.

“In the battle 225 loyalists were killed, 163 were wounded and 715 were taken prisoner. As to patriots casualties, 28 were killed and 68 were wounded.

“The information below comes from “Morgan District, NC Superior Court of Law & Equity; Misc. Records, Book III” and is a transcription of court proceedings against suspected Tories.

“‘State of North Carolina }
Rutherford County }

“‘At a County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions began and held for said county on the Second Monday of July in the year of our lord one thousand Seven Hundred & Eighty two, before the Worshipfull William Gilbert, James Whithrow & Jonathan Hampton and Other Justices asigned & Duly Commd. With full Power and Authority and Jurisdiction to hold the Said Court and to hear try and determine all petit larceny, assault, Batteries, trespasses, breaches of the peace and Other Misdemeanors of What Kind So ever of an inferior nature and also duly Authorised and Impowered by an Act of Assembly in such case made & provided to hear try adjudge & Determine all Cases of Confiscated Property in the County aforesaid, The Jurors for the State on their Oath present & Say that

William Mills, William Going, Arthur Taylor, Moses Whitly, Freeman Jones, Thomas Townsend, Phelemon Hankins, Joseph McDaniel, Jeremiah McDaniel, John Hendrix, James Kelly, James Lemar, William Adams Sen, William Adams Jur, James Upton, Benjamin Adams, Benjamin Adams Junr, John Morgan, Moses Wright, William Henson Jur, Giles Williams, Essex Capshaw, John McDaniel, Joseph Clark, John Thomason, John Owins, Thomas George, William Thompson, Jeremiah Webb, John Walburt, Isaiah Blackwell, William Webb, John Webb, Thomas Camp, Micajah Proctor, John Camp, James Camp, John Camp Jur, David Morgan, William Nettle Jur, Alexander Coulter, Joseph Moore, William Morgan, Thomas Goodbread, John King, Elias Morgan Senr, James Cook Senr, John Goodbread, George Revis, William Duning, Phillip Goodbread Jur, Federick Jones, Isham Revis, John Davice, Neel Wilye, Ambros Mills, George Davice, George Davice Jur, Gideon Rucker, Stophen Walburt, James Chitwood Sen, Joseph Chitwood, Richard Chitwood, William Battle, James Capshaw, John Richardson, Stephen Langford, Joseph Lawrence, Joseph Underwood, Stephen Shelton, Andrew Poor, John Hutson, John Morris, William Hall, Shadrack Nettle, Tho. Whitesides, Elias Brock, Mark Powell, William Henry, Barna King, Giles Reynolds, Samuel Moore, Daniel Singleton, Jonas Bedford, Samuel Thompson, William Green, Isaac Cooper, Abel Langham, Benjamin Bigerstaff, Joseph Baily, Muphord Wilson, Caleb Taylor, Peter Dills, George Cox Jur, Edward Francis, Shadrack Avery, Arthur Owensby, George Cox, John Jones, Samuel Hendrix, John Cox & Joel Cox, David George, John Felts, Jesse Nettle, William Henson Sen, Brock Davice, James Patterson, William Shephard, Benjamin Moored, William Capshaw, Robert Taylor of Whiteoak, all late of the County of Rutherford, Planters, not reguarding the Duty of their Alle-gance to the said State & her laws or fearing the pains & penalties therein Contained on the first day of October in the year of Our lord One thousand Seven Hundred & Eighty with force & Arms in the County aforesaid Wickedly & treacherously entending and Designing as for as in them lay to Overturn the present free Government of this State & reduce the Inhabitants thereof Under the Power of the Army of Great Britain then & now at Open War with this State and the United States of America did then & there with force and Arms feloinously & treacherously Knowingly & Willfully did aid & assist the said King by Joining his Army Commanded by Major [Patrick] Ferguson and by bearing Arms in the Service of the said King Against the Good Government Peace and Dignity of this State; and the Jurors aforesaid on their Oath aforesaid do further Present & say that by their felony and treason by them respective in Manner & form aforesaid Committed have Severally forfeited their Goods & Chattels lands & tenements to the State according to a form of An Act of As-sembly in Such Case made & provided.

“‘A True Bill – William Porter, foreman. A true Copy of the Inquisition found by the Grand Jury – Certified by me, Felix Walker C.C.'”  –shb 24 Nov 2007

POST ABOUT TORY STEPHEN LANGFORD (WITHOUT IDENTIFYING WHICH ONE).  As posted at, accessed 9 Jan 2007, by shb [bolding mine–shb]:

“Husband: Stephen Langford

“LifeNotes: He was a Tory.

“From Poldi Tonin: ‘Abstracts of Sales of Confiscated Loyalist Land and Property in North Carolina’ Dewey No. R929.3756P 971A 1989 Rowan and Rutherford Cos. [Morgan Dist. Superior Court Miscellaneous Records–DSCR 205.428.2] : 577. Rutherford Co. Pleas & Quarter Sessions Court second Monday in Jul. 1782 before william Gilbert, James Withrow, Johnathan Hampton, and other justices a Grand Jury say the following people, all late of Rutherford Co. planters, ‘aided and joined’ the army of Maj. Ferguson and are convicted as tories ‘a true bill’ [signed] William Porter, foreman, before Felix Walker. Stephen Langford, (others by surname only) Mills, Goings, Taylor, Whitly, Townsend, Hawkins, McDaniel, Kelly, Lemar, Adams, Morgan, Wright, Capshaw, Whiteoak, Owins, Gore, Thomason, Clark, Blackwell, Webb, Camp, Coulter, Moore, Cook, Goodbread, Jones, Revis, Davice, Chitwood, Rucker, Richardson, Battle, Lawrence, Poor, Morris, Underwood, Whiteside, Hutson.

“Rutherford Co.585F p. 105 John Walker esq. on petition vs Ambros Mills, Elias Brock, Thomas Townsend, Jeremiah McDaniel, Joseph McDaniel, Benjamin Biggerstaff, Stephen Langford, Jonas Bedford, James Chitwood, Abram Green & William Green, William Morrison, William Porter, William Withrow, Thomas Welch, James Adair, Robert Rqankin, Stephen Willis, jr., James Gray, James McDaniel of ‘the Cove’, John Twitty, James McDaniel of Broad R. and James Armstrong summoned, impaneled, and duly sworn to try the enquiry: find for the plaintiff against the several defendants and assess damages to L 540 specie and costs.

“585T p. 115-118 Whereas summons have issued to the sheriff to notify the following persons to appear and answer an inquistion of treason, felony and forfiture found against them by the Grand Jury to wit: Stephen Langford (among a long list of men names or surnames for the most part recited above but more added.)”  –shb 9 Jan 2007

1803, JULY 11–SINGLETON LAND PROXIMITY TO JOHNSON AND WILLIAM FARRIS. Lincoln County, Kentucky Records, Vol. III, compiled by Bettie Cummings Cook (Evansville, Indiana: Cook Publications), searched by shb, 22 Jun 2006, at the FHL, Salt Lake City, Utah (Call No. 976.9625/v28c/v.3), p. 301: “p. 102, JOHN SINGLETON claims 255 acres of vacant land, agreeably to the Act of the General Assembly, and satisfactory proof being made that he has actually settled and improved the said land, a certificate is granted him for the 255 acres on the east side of Fishing Creek, beginning corner to WILLIAM FARIS and JOHNSON FARIS surveys.” -shb 22 July 2006 [Johnson or “John” Farris married Jenny/Jean Lankford, daughter of my ancestors, Joseph and Mary ___ Lankford. Yesterday I found a Farris/Singleton marriage that took place a generation later: Esom Faris, b. abt. 1772, m. 2) Elizabeth Singleton.-shb.]

CARTWHEELS. On also forwarding the above 11 July 1803 entry, Shi Wordsworth writes:
“I can’t stand any more today! This is just too good! Excuse me. I have to do cartwheels again.” -shb 23 July 2006

1801, JULY 13–LAND JOINS JOHN BAKER’S. Lincoln County, Kentucky Records, Vol. III, compiled by Bettie Cummings Cook (Evansville, Indiana: Cook Publications), searched by shb, 22 Jun 2006, at the FHL, Salt Lake City, Utah (Call No. 976.9625/v28c/v.3), p. 244, “p. 254, JOHN BAKER claims 100 acres of vacant land, agreeably to the Act of General Assembly, and satisfactory proof being made that he has actually settled and improved the esaid land, a certificate is granted him for the 100 acres on Crooked Creek, waters of Rockcastle, adjoining STEPHEN LANGFORD and to include BOWLEN BAKER’s cabin.” -shb 22 July 2006 [Next item listed is a claim by James Faris, Sr.-shb.]

1801, JULY 15–ROAD OVERSEER. Lincoln County, Kentucky Records, Vol. III, compiled by Bettie Cummings Cook (Evansville, Indiana: Cook Publications), searched by shb, 22 Jun 2006, at the FHL, Salt Lake City, Utah (Call No. 976.9625/v28c/v.3), p. 252: “p. 267, JOHN CRAIG is appointed overseer of the road in precinct No. 1, SAMUEL SHACKLEFORD in precinct No. 2, GEORGE MURRELL is precinct No. 3, JAMES MASON in precinct No. 4, JEREMIAH WOOD in precinct No. 5, ABRAHAM RIFE is precinct No. 6, CHARLES KIRKLAND in precinct no. 7, FELIX LANDERS in precinct No. 8, ABSALOM SHANNON in precinct No. 9, WILLIAM WARREN, JR., in precinct No. 10, JOSEPH LYNN in precinct NO. 11, SAMUEL BEARD in precinct No. 12, WILLIAM ROWTON is precinct No. 15, JOSHUA EMBRY in precinct No. 16, WILLIAM FINLEY is precinct No. 17, RICHARD GAINES is precinct No. 18, JAMES T. WORTHINGTON in precinct No. 19, JOHNSON FARIS in precinct No. 20, JOHN WARREN in precinct No. 21, EDWARD EVANS in precinct No. 22, STEPHEN LANGFORD in precinct No. 23, THOMAS OWSLEY in precinct No. 24, JONATHAN TAYLOR in precinct No. 25, WILLIAM BARNETT in precinct No. 26, and CHRISTOPHER RIFE in precinct No. 27.” -shb 22 July 2006

1803, FEBRUARY 15–JOB AS ROAD OVERSEER REPLACED BY JAMES DYSART. Lincoln County, Kentucky Records, Vol. III, compiled by Bettie Cummings Cook (Evansville, Indiana: Cook Publications), searched by shb, 22 Jun 2006, at the FHL, Salt Lake City, Utah (Call No. 976.9625/v28c/v.3), p. 292: “p. 77, JAMES DYSART is appointed overseer of the roads in Precinct No. 23 in place of STEPHEN LANGFORD.” -shb 22 July 2006

1804, NOVEMBER 13–LAND MENTIONED. Lincoln County, Kentucky Records, Vol. III, compiled by Bettie Cummings Cook (Evansville, Indiana: Cook Publications), searched by shb, 22 Jun 2006, at the FHL, Salt Lake City, Utah (Call No. 976.9625/v28c/v.3), p. 341: “p. 220, The persons appointed to extend the line between Lincoln anad Madison Counties, made their report and it is ordered recorded. Report road as follows. Beginning on the dividing ridge between Paint Lick and Dicks River, opposite Harrisons Lick, at several chestnut oaks marked with the first letters of the Commissioner’s names, thence south 45 degrees east 6 miles and 80 poles to main Copper Creek, 220 poles more to the road leading from LANGFORD’s to KENNEDY’s, 12 miles and 190 poles to Roundstone Fork of Rockcastle and crossing the same the second time at 260 poles the third time at 13 miles and 6 poles, the fourth at 12 poles, fifth at 82 poles, sixth at 14 miles and 134 poles, seventh at 200 poles, eighth at 238 poles, at 17 miles and 40 poles crossing the road from CHARLES SMITH’s to the Saltpetre cavem [sic-shb] at 18 miles and 90 poles crossing Roundstone the ninth time 16 poles above where it sinks, 20 miles and 721 poles crossing the road from Langford’s to MEDCALF’s, 22 miles to Rockcastle River at four linn trees marked as afore. Signed by JONATHAN FORBIS and JOHN SHANKS, SAMUEL HANES, ARCHIBALD SHANKS, JAMES MONTGOMERY. Account for services was appended.” -shb 25 July 2006

1805, SEPTEMBER 9–APPRAISES JOHN WHITESIDES ESTATE. Lincoln County, Kentucky Records, Vol. III, compiled by Bettie Cummings Cook (Evansville, Indiana: Cook Publications), searched by shb, 22 Jun 2006, at the FHL, Salt Lake City, Utah (Call No. 976.9625/v28c/v.3), p. 363: “p. 295, Administration on the estate of JOHN WHITESIDES, dec’d, is granted to JENNY WHITESIDES, widow and relict, and she executed her bond of $300.00 with JOHN HALL her surety. JAMES DYSART, STEPHEN LANGFORD, JOSEPH CASWELL and STERLING SYMES, or any three of them, are to make appraisal of the personal estate of the decedent.” -shb 26 July 2006

1805–STEPHEN’S SON BENJAMIN DISPPEARS FROM TAX LIST. I am told by Stephen’s descendant, Shi Wordsworth, that Benjamin’s wife, Nancy Peyton, had an affair with their next-door neighbor, so that may be why Benjamin left town and is no longer seen on the local tax rolls.]

1806–NANCY PEYTON FILES FOR DIVORCE FROM STEPHEN’S SON BENJAMIN. Nancy was not granted the divorce, but Shi Wordsworth, Stephen’s descendant, tells me Nancy kept right on with her affair with their next door neighbor, Uriah Gressom (see 1811 court case notes, below, for more detail). –shb 15 Sep 2006

1806–“ROCKCASTLE STEPHEN,” WITH FOUR OTHERS, GRANTS RIGHTS TO MAKE SALT ON GOOSE CREEK, BUT RESERVES RESOURCES FOR ‘MANSION’: From e-letter to shb by Shiron Wordsworth to shb, 13 Apr 2006: “. . . . Appropos of nothing, I found a Clay County, Kentucky deed today in which Stephen1 is mentioned. He was in partnership with four men, one of whom was from Virginia. They were granting rights to make salt on Goose Creek to a gentleman, but they reserved the best of the timber and the water resources because of the ‘mantion houses’ that someone intended to build. This happened in 1806. Stephen must have died before he could build another ‘mantion’ house.” -shb 14 Apr 2006

STEPHEN’S FIRST WIFE A SINGLETON.  From e-response by Shi Wordsworth to shb, about Shi’s above family tree outline: “Stephen’s first wife is not quite so much of a mystery still. It’s really a very good assumption at this point in time that her last name was Singleton. I’m not putting that in stone yet, but everything points in that direction. All the circumstantial evidence lines up perfectly for that to be the case. And we do have a lot of circumstantial evidence including the Langford-Singleton relationship that lasted through the first half of the 20th century.” –shb 15 Sep 2006 [Note:  I have since received a memo from Bob Langford, saying he believes Stephen had a wife before Lois Mullins named Millie Singleton.  I heard Jeff Renner name an earlier wife of Stephen’s “Millie,” but he did not attach her maiden name as “Singleton.”  Jeff Renner since writes, 25 Nov 2007:  “Mt. Vernon Stephen was first married to a woman with the surname Singleton–there is proof of this–her first name isn’t known for sure but it might have been Mildred or similar.”]  –shb 26 Nov 2007

1807, JULY 22–BOND FOR “STEPHEN LANGFORD” TO MARRY “LOIS MULLINS.”  Lincoln County Kentucky Records (Kentucky Record Series, Vol. 23), Vol. I, compiled by Michael L. Cook (Evansville, Indiana: Cook Publications), searched by shb, 23 Jun 2007, at the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah (US/CAN 976.9625/V28c), p. 80:  “Bond of STEPHEN LANGFORD to marry LOIS MULLINS, with ISGAM [sic–shb] GENTRY as surety, July 22, 1807.  Consent by bride in writing, stating she is over 21 years of age.”  –shb 27 Feb 2008

1811 COURT CASE ANSWERS QUESTIONS.  E-response, 8 Sep 2006, by Shi Wordsworth to Ann Langford: “There is a lawsuit filed in Lincoln County, Kentucky, in 1811, listing Rockcastle Stephen’s heirs. Rockcastle’s Benjamin was Stephen’s son. Benjamin’s children are also listed in this lawsuit. They are Stephen (who crafted the flintlock rifle), Robert, Jonathan, Stacy, and Matilda.

“Stephen had two daughters not listed in this lawsuit. They are Mary and Elizabeth Gentry who married John Isham Gentry. His youngest son, Henry, is mentioned in the lawsuit along with Benjamin and Benjamin’s children.

“Land records show Benjamin Langford living on Stephen’s land on the Rockcastle River. The only Benjamin paying taxes in that county at that time is Stephen’s Benjamin. But the lawsuit is positive proof that Stephen and Benjamin were father and son, not brothers. And the will of [Virginia General Assemblyman–shb] Benjamin Lankford of Pittsylvania County, VA, lists a son named Stephen. who, at this point in time, is the only logical possibility as the son of Pittsylvania Ben. At least at this time anyway.

“There are coincidental facts that suggest Stephen’s connection to Pitt Ben. He’s living in the same area as Pitt Ben’s daughter, Mary Lankford Todd. There is the fact that Thomas Langford was murdered by the Harpes in 1798, and a letter surfaced recently that gives proof that some relative of Mary Lankford Todd was murdered by the Harpes. Thomas was in the area with a view to relocating. If Stephen is his brother, then that makes sense because Stephen just the year previous had taken up the huge Barbour grant and was making plans for the town of Mt. Vernon. He had land to spare to share for a brother.

“The lawsuit lists some of Stephen’s heirs, but land records also prove the relationship between Stephen and Benjamin as father and son.

“It looks as as if Joseph [my ancestor–shb] and Pitt Ben were brothers. Court records from Caroline County, VA don’t prove that relationship, but they suggest it. If so, then Joseph was Rockcastle Stephen’s uncle.” –shb 8 Sep 2006 [Per note above, signatures were found for both Mt. Vernon Stephen and Pitt Ben’s son Stephen, and they are not a match–shb.]

DOCUMENTS GIVE DETAIL ABOUT STEPHEN’S WIVES.  E-letter from researcher Jeff Renner, featured speaker at the first annual Stephen Langford Memorial Reunion, had three documents attached and also a transcript of a letter, attached to his memo of 3 June 2007, which reads: “You are most welcome. Speaking of the marriage of Stephen and Lois, see attached [see, as attached to my Stephen Langford Legacy media file–shb]. Notice that Lois could write. The source for Stephen being previously married to a Singleton woman is the below letter, written by Elisha Smith, son of William Smith and Elizabeth Singleton. Of course, Stephen could have been married more than twice.

“I’ve also attached the bond record for Benjamin and Nancy (that’s the only document available). An interesting aspect is in the spelling of the surname–the document text says “Lankford” with a “k;” Benjamin signs “Langford” with a “g.” So there was discrepancies with the spelling in KY in 1787. [See, as attached to Benjamin, son of Stephen1’s Legacy media file–shb.]

“I don’t have copies of any other Langford marriages in Lincoln County.

“Jeff ”  (see letter, below):
“Rockcastle County, Ky.
June 4, 1839
D Sir,
My Granfather Richard Singleton resided in N.C. and commanded as a Capt. or Majr. at Kings-Mountain. I am told he was ingajed or during other occations in the service of the state. He resieded in Rutherford County left there for Ky about forty years since.
I have thought probibly he is entitled for his heirs to something for his Revoilutionary services. Will you do me the favor to have the roles examined and if they show anything to entitle him (or his heirs) to anything or land in W. Terr. please write me. I shall be glad to have it in my power to riciprocate the favor.
Elisha Smith (signature)
Previous to his leaving N.C. he had been as I am informed repeatidly elected to the legislature of N.C. He had a brother on the Tory side at Kings Mountain by the name of Daniel and a brother-in-law by the name of Stiphen Langford.
Addressed to Members of Congress
Raleigh, N.C.”   –shb 4 Jun 2007

1807, JULY 22–MARRIAGE TO LOIS MULLINS: Date I had from Allen Leigh’s site for the marriage of Stephen Langford and Lois Mullins was confirmed by Shiron Wordsworth’s date/place, information, courtesy of Martha Langford Green’s research. -shb 24 Jan 2006

1807, JULY 22–MARRIES LOIS MULLINS.  Lincoln County, Kentucky Marriages 1780-1850, photocopied page (page number cut off) mailed to shb, by Terry Smith.  On this list of alphabetized marriages are five Kincaid marriages and three for Langford/Langfords, on the same page.  Langfords mentioned are Stephen, Walker (m. Mary Warren–my ancestors), and Benjamin Lankford (m. Nancy Peyton). Stephen’s entry reads:  “LANGFORD, STEPHEN – LOIS MULLINS, 22 Jul 1807.”  –shb 30 Apr 2007

1810 CENSUS: As posted on [I must have been interrupted here–can’t find the address now, but this at least shows the lineup, though the numbers do not line up, when copied over, by category, as detailed below this–shb]:

159 15 Smith Peter 2 4 1 2 2 1
159 16 Yeary Benedick 1 1 7
159 17 Ott Frederick 2 1 1 1
159 18 Henderson Wm. 1 1 3 2 1 1
159 19 Colyar Wm. 1 1 1 1
159 20 Langford Stephen 2 2 1 2 3 1 9 [See detail, below–shb]
159 21 Owen David 5 2 1 1 1
159 22 Dysart John 1 1 2 1 1 4
159 23 Perkins Stephen 2 2 1 2 5
159 24 Faris Hezekiah 1 2 1 1 1 11
159 25 Sayers John 1 2 2 1 1
159 26 Dysart Saml. 4 1 1 1 2
159 27 McQueen John 4 2 1 4 2 1
159 28 Jones esq. James 1 1 1 1 1
159 29 Renfro Mark 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 6
159 30 Cook Aron 1 1 1
159 31 McLemore Gillum 1 2 1
159 32 Fish Thos. 1 2 3 1 1 1 2 1
159 33 Mullins Gardener 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
159 34 Mullins Champ 3 1 1 1 1 1
159 35 Lyon Stephen 3 1 1 1 1 1
159 36 Henderson Aleses? 2 1 1 1 2 First name is hard to decipher
159 37 Dysart Col. J.S. 1 1 1 1 5

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Free Free Free Free Free Free Free Free Free Free Other
White White White White White White White White White White Free
Head of Household Males Males Males Males Males Females Females Females Females Females Persons
Page # Line # Last Name First Name 0-9 10to15 16-25 26-44 45+ 0-9 10to15 16-25 26-44 45+ Slaves Remarks

160 1 Colyar Sr. John 1 3 1 2 1 1
160 2 Parnull Stephen 2 4 1 2 4 1
160 3 Proctor James 6 1 2 2 1 1
160 4 Smith Wm. 1 1
160 5 Larkins Mark 1 1 3 2 1
160 6 Renfro Isaac 4 3 1 2 1 5
160 7 Person Abraham 2 1 2 1
160 8 Renfro Lewis 1 3 1
160 9 Bowman Elisha 1 1 2 1 1 1 1
160 10 Warren John 3 1 1 1
160 11 Ross Thos. J. 2 1 1 1
160 12 Vance Elenor 1 2 1
160 13 Brown Mathew 2 1 2 1 2 1 1
160 14 Sowder Michael 2 1 2 1 1 2 1
160 15 Pope Robt. 1 1 1
160 16 Faris Moses 1 3 1 1 2 1
160 17 Scott Jessee 1 1 1
160 18 Chance ? 1 1 1 1 1 First name Illegible

1810 CENSUS–URIAH GRESSOM IS ENUMERATOR: I sent Shi Wordsworth a listing of tax entries for Uriah Grissom/Grishom (spelled many ways), as posted on the ‘net, and said I wrote the author, asking her interest in Uriah [Stephen Lankford’s son Benjamin’s wife Nancy’s lover–shb]. Shi’s response: “I’m sure Uriah is somehow related to this woman. He [Benjamin] and Nancy Peyton Langford could never marry seeing as how she remained a Langford in the eyes of the law until she died.

“But it’s interesting that he was the enumerator of the 1810 census in Rockcastle, seeing as how a copy of that census was ordered to be kept at the home of Stephen Langford. I’ll bet that meeting was cordial.” –shb 15 Sep 2006


Rockcastle County, Kentucky – Stephen Langford Males: 2 [aged 0-9–one of these would be Henry, b. 1808–shb], 0 [aged 10-15], 2 [16-25], 1 [26-44], 2 [45 & up–one of these would be Stephen]; females: 3 [0-9]; 0 [10-15], 0 [16-25], 1 [26-44–this would be Lois Mullins]; 0 [45+]; blacks: 9.

Looking at this, I think the extra male in the household, age 45 or over is Stephen’s son, Benjamin, who is estranged from wife, Nancy (Peyton)–shb. There are a lot of questions here, as Stephen supposedly married Lois Mullins July 22, 1807, so how did she have five children in 2-3 years–was she widowed? Did she bring babies with her? Did Stephen house children born by his slaves? Did Benjamin bring younger children with him?
In all of Rockcastle County, there are 807 males, 701 females, and 163 slaves, for a total of 1731, in 1810.
FATHER NOT JOSEPH: Stephen is listed as a child of Joseph Langford by Martha Langford Green (see her internet entry as posted in father Joseph’s notes), but this is discounted, e-letter of 29 Jan 2006, from Shiron Wordsworth (see 1811 court suit notes, below). -shb 30 Jan 2006

A SON BENJAMIN? A Benjamin Langford, age 21, a farmer, born in Kentucky, is listed as living with Stephen’s son William, age 34, a farmer, born in Kentucky, and William’s wife Nancy and six children, in the 1850 Census of the Northern District of Rockcastle County, Kentucky, pg. 187. I think there’s a good chance Benjamin is William’s brother and, therefore, Stephen’s son, but Benjamin could also be William’s cousin, so I have listed him separately, as my ID 61888. -shb 8 Apr 2005 [E-note from Shiron Wordsworth, after I asked her about this, 31 Jan 2006: “This Benjamin might have been William’s brother and, therefore, another son of Robert [sic-shb]. But there’s no way to prove that relationship, as yet.” -shb 31 Jan 2006 [Note: See 1811 lawsuit notes, below. This suit over Stephen’s land proves that he did have a son named Benjamin and also names Stephen’s approximate date of death.

YES, A SON BENJAMIN: See Stephen’s son Benjamin’s notes for letter from Shiron Wordsworth to shb, of 29 Jan 2006, about this 1811 Rockcastle County, Kentucky court case that names Stephen’s approximate death and his son Benjamin’s heirs. -shb 31 Jan 2006 [Note: E-letter to shb from Shiron, 17 Feb 2006, summarizes conclusions: “A lawsuit was filed against Stephen1 in February 1811, by Valentine Harmon. Stephen1 is still alive at that time. By May 1811, he is dead because the lawsuit reverts to Stephen’s heirs. These heirs are listed as two sons: Benjamin who was, we assume, about 43 years old at that time, and Henry, who was only three when his father died. Marriage records indicate that Stephen had two daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, but they were not heirs of Stephen1.” (See 1834 notes, below, for indication that daughter Elizabeth’s husband sued the estate for land he perhaps wanted to reclaim for his wife-shb.)] -shb 17 Feb 2006 [See note tagged 1811, below, for more about this suit–shb.]

DESCENDANT SHIRON PUTS LANGFORDS ON THE ROCKCASTLE WEB MAP: Excerpt from e-letter to shb from Shiron Langford, 18 Nov 2003: “Now… I just have to share with you about that Rockcastle County KY GenWeb site. I go there from time to time to see what’s new there, see if I can glean any new info on the Langfords.

STEPHEN AMONG FIRST SETTLERS TO ROCKCASTLE COUNTY: [Shiron Wordsworth’s letter, above, continued]: “Last Saturday I accessed that site. They have a new section called ‘Family Info.’ It’s a place where people can contribute family pictures, descendancy charts, etc. Well, I tell you what! There were several families represented and not a Langford in sight!!!

“I went to the section called ‘Timeline,’ and, sure as shootin’, there it was, the following fact: ‘1790 – Stephen Langford leads first settlers into the county.’ [Actually, local historial Jeff Renner, featured speaker at the Stephen Langford Memorial Reunion, held 27 May 2007, (which I attended), said this is a misconception that has been perpetuated.  He said Stephen was clearly NOT the first to lead settlers to Mt. Vernon, but that he was an important settler who followed settling by others.  He did say Stephen helped plat the town and planned and created important local roads–shb.]

“You can be sure it didn’t set just right with this granddaughter of Stephen’s that no Langford had any other mention. Then I began to look at some of the photos, dont’cha know. It was when I saw some of the Mullins and Clark families with pictures scattered in various places, and with their tombstones gloriously photographed for posterity’s viewing that I had what I’ll call a Langford moment. I tell you, woman, Elza Langford stood up and hollered.

“Dave Clark may have given Elza a worse headache and shot ‘Poppy’ for who knows what reason. But that didn’t give the Clarks the right to own that website. No way! It was a Langford that first settled that county, and by golly, Langfords had a right to be there! So I decided to send them home for a visit.

“I wrote that Jennifer Fish who is keeper of the flame at that website. I told her what I had in the way of pictures, and offered to send them to her for her inspection. She said to send them right along. So I did. When she saw the pictures, she wrote back right away. Said she would put them on the website ASAP. And she asked me for anything else, absolutely anything else I could send her. I sent her the picture of the older Elza first, and I’m suspicious that he’s still charming the fair maidens of Rockcastle County.

“I also made a suggestion. I asked her if she didn’t think it would be a great idea to have a section where family stories are shared. The result is that there’s a whole new section on the website where family legends can be told. And she asked if I would spin a yarn or two for her. Well, that’s like asking a skunk if he likes stink! I told her I would try to come up with a story or two for her. Elza is pleased. At least he lowered his volume a decibel or two.

“And, Sherlene, I have to tell you. I think I’ve discovered a prejudice or two I never knew I had. I looked at the pictures of those other Rockcastle residents. Some of them are good looking people. But some of the guys (a Mullins in particular) just look like the latest redneck hoodlums. I think I can safely say that our Langfords are lookin’ good compared to others I see there. I’m trying to repent of this prejudice, but it just won’t go away! And the Langfords sure had a better sense of fashion than the vast majority of what I see there. Yes, cousin, the Langfords do us proud. I really think you would have to agree with me.

“Sherlene I hope you can tell that I have my tongue so firmly planted in my cheek right now that I look like I’m worrying a good chew of Kentucky’s finest burley. If I don’t remove it soon, I’m gonna have to spit! But I think you will be forgiving. Yep, I really believe you will!” -shb 20 Nov 2003

Langford Hall and sent shb 18 Oct 2001: “Posting Number One:

“Re: Virginia, KY, IN
Posted by: Angela Beller
“Date: July 15, 2001 at 16:30:14

“In Reply to: Re: Virginia, KY, IN by Wyoma Ranee Hoagland

1834–JOHN ISHAM SUES: From e-letter to shb, 17 Feb 2006, by Shiron Wordsworth: “In 1834, John Isham Gentry, who was the husband of Elizabeth Langford, Stephen Langford’s daughter, sued the estate for 350 acres of land on the Dicks River. He won the lawsuit, which may have been an effort to reclaim his wife’s rightful inheritance of her father’s estate.” -shb 17 Feb 2006

STEPHEN NAMED AS FIRST SETTLER AT MOUNT VERNON [SINCE DISCOUNTED–HE WAS AN EARLY SETTLER, BUT BY NO MEANS THE FIRST–shb]: According to Stephen’s daughter Stacy’s son Milton P. Newcomb’s biographical sketch (see Milton’s notes), Moses Newcomb’s “wife, Stacy (Langford) Newcomb, was a daughter of Stephen Langford, who settled in what is now Mount Vernon.” Milton P. Newcomb was engaged in the hotel business at Mount Vernon, and his father, Moses Newcomb, moved to Rockcastle County in 1812, where he was a farmer and large slave holder, as well. –shb 8 Apr 2005 [Note: This is discounted by the court case of 1811 that names Stacy as a daughter of Stephen’s son, Benjamin, so actually Stephen’s granddaughter-shb.] [Also, Shiron Wordsworth writes shb, 18 Feb 2006, that in 1810 Stephen only had nine slaves, before he died the next year, between February and May of 1811-shb.]

TWO MARRIAGES/FIVE CHILDREN NAMED/HENRY INHERITS MOST LAND: From e-letter to shb from Shiron Wordsworth, 25 Mar 2006: “Lois Mullins was Stephen’s ‘trophy wife,’ at the end of his life. The only child they had in common was Henry, born in 1808. Stephen married Lois in 1807 and died in 1811. . . . Obviously Stephen was married before, because he had heirs named Benjamin, Elizabeth, Mary, and Matilda, but who that first wife was is a mystery. We estimate that Stephen’s son, Benjamin, was born about 1768, so forty years separated Ben and his baby brother, Henry, who apparently was the infant Lord of the Manor after his father’s death. Wtih the exception of the lawsuit to recover for Elizabeth 350 acres of her father’s land, none of the Langfords seemed miffed that Henry inherited the bulk of his father’s goods.” -shb 25 Mar 2006

MARRIAGE TO LOIS MULLINS–FIRST DOCUMENT SIGNED BY HER.  This first of three marriage documents involving Stephen Langford and Lois Mullis, actually signed by Lois Mullins, was forwarded to shb, 3 Jun 2007, by local historian Jeff Renner, featured speaker at the Stephen Langford Memorial Reunion, held in Mt. Vernon, KY, 27 May 2007. I transcribe it as reading: “I do hereby Certify that I am over the age of twenty one years I do agree that licence Should issue for a marriage betwe-en Stephen Langford & myself This day of July 1807. [signed[ Lois Mullins [seal]; Witness[ed by] Adam Gentry, Francis [?] Trevin [?–can’t read]. –shb

MARRIAGE TO LOIS MULLINS–SECOND DOCUMENT.  A second marriage document for Stephen Langford and Lois Mullins, scan forwarded to shb, 5 June 2007, by Jeff Renner, is attached to Stephen’s media file.  I read it as:  “Know all men by the presence that we Stephen Langford & Isham Gentry are held and firmly bound unto Christopher Greenup Esquire governor of Kentucky and his successors in office in the sum L50 which payment well and truly to be made we bind ourselves our heirs &c jointly and severally finally by these presents seald with our seals and dated this 22nd day of July 1807 The Condition of the above obligation is such that [?–paper torn in middle of word] whereas there is [?–torn again] a license to obstruct [word obstruct is crossed out] issue for a mariage [sic] between Stephen Langford and Lois Mullins – Now if there is no lawful cause to obstruct said marriage then the above obligation to be void else to remarry in full force and virtue
[signed by]
Stephen Langford [seal]
Isaac Gentry [seal]
W. M. Gomey [?]”  –shb 5 June 2007

1807, JULY 22–BOND FOR STEPHEN’S MARRIAGE TO LOIS MULLINS. Lincoln County Kentucky Records (Kentucky Record Series, Vol. 23), Vol. I, compiled by Michael L. (Evansville, Indiana: Cook Publications), searched by shb, 23 Jun 2007, at the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah (US/CAN 976.9625/V28c), p. 80:  “Bond of STEPHEN LANGFORD to marry LOIS MULLINS, with ISGAM [sic–shb] GENTRY as surety, July 22, 1807.  Consent by bride in writing, stating she is over 21 years of age.”  –shb 7 Feb 2008

1807, JULY 22–MARRIAGE TO LOIS MULLINS, IN LINCOLN COUNTY, KENTUCKY–THIRD DOCUMENT.  The last of three documents regarding the marriage of Stephen Langford to Lois Mullins, scan forwarded to shb, June 2007, by Jeff Renner, is attached to Stephen’s Legacy media file.  I read it as follows: “State of Kentucky Lincoln County &ct. I do hereby certify that security is taken in my office according to law for a licence to issue for a mariage [sic] between Stephen Langford & Lois Mullins – This shall therefore authorise any minister of the gospel or justice of the peace legally authorised to solemn the rites of matrimony to join the said Stephen & Lois together according to the rites and ceremonies of their church or society.  Witness Thos Montgomery clerk of the court of the county aforesaid this 22nd day of July 1807 [signed by] Thomas Montgomery.”  –shb

EARLY LANGFORDS OWNED A QUARRY? In the “Rockcastle Firsts” article, an excerpt of which is given below, one additional “first” listed is “- Freestone (building) shipped from Langford Quaries, the greatest in South East Kentucky.” I asked Shiron Wordsworth if she knew anything about this, with this response, 26 Mar 2006: ” . . . The best gestimate currently is that it [the “Langford Quarry”-shb] was located in the Crooked Creek -Roundstone Creek area of Rockcastle which is Langford stomping ground. For sure James H. and his sons Dock, Peyton, and Flint owned land in that same area. I haven’t been able to discover whether it actually belonged to a Langford originally or was just given that name because it was on or near Langford land. At one time it shipped granite (I think it was granite) all over the United States and even to England. In the last decade of the 1800s, there was a building erected in Cincinnati using rock from Langford Quarry. Somewhere I have the address for that building, but I’ll have to hunt it up. I’ll try to do that later tonight.
Langford Quarry is another of those mysteries. Was it owned and operated originally by Langfords? Maybe. That’s about all that can be said about it now. Shi” -shb 27 Mar 2006

[Note: June, 2006, I found at the FHL, Salt Lake City, Utah (Call No. 976.7623/D25r) a volume containing compiled issues of “Rockcastle Reminiscence,” a publication of the Rockcastle County Historical Society (Vol. 6, No. 1), that featured an old photo of men working at this quary in a place called Hummel, Kentucky. The article under the photo reads: “The builder of the railroad connecting Cincinnati and Knoxville tunneled through portions of Central Rockcastle County during the early 1880s and penetrated a stone-rich but primitive area of the Cumberland foothills. A few years after the railroad’s completion, the David Humel Building company began to quarry freestone near Rockcastle’s Langford station, and for thirty years the Cincinnatians and residents of the remote area of Eastern Kentucky enjoyed a mutually beneficial association.” [Note: This and the following paragraphs are excerpts from Tradition and Progress – A History of Hummel Industries, Inc., by Nancy Disher Baird. An interesting map shows the railroad going right through Rockcastle County, showing Wildie and Langford Station at the Northeast corner of the County and Mt. Vernon more southwest, toward the middle of the County. A note says that “Hummel, Kentucky was the rural area between Wildie, a community of less than 100, and Langford Station, a railroad siding.” Another label to a map names “Hummel, Kentucky, prior to 1930. Gravel roads are located today by the roadbeds of the spur lines that connected the quarries and mills to the main railroad line. The distance between Langford Station and Wildie is about 15 miles”-shb.] Now, continuing with the excerpted paragraphs:

“In 1885 a group of twelve Lexingtonians purchased 100 acres of land adjoining the railroad right-of-way near Langford Station. They incorporated their holdings as the Kentucky Freestone Company and hired Launey Clay, the adopted Russian son of Casius M. Clay, to manage the operation. A spur line was laid, mule-powered derricks were erected, and blocks of stone were quarried and sent to Lexington.”

“In the late months of 1895 the David Hummel Building Company purchased the Kentucky Freestone Company, and the following June the first shipment of Rockcastle freestone arrived at their yard on Logan and Elder streets in Cincinnati. The original name was retained, and Hummels hired Dave Carter, a former employ [sic-shb] of the quarry to manage the operation.” [next page]

“After 1910 the use of steam-powered-drill facilitated this work. The stone-ladened gondolas were coupled to the L.&.N. train, and a day later they arrived at the companies [sic-shb]siding in Cincinnati. The freight average $25.00 per carload. In 1912 the Mt. Vernon Signal estimated that Kentucky Freestone Company annually shipped 400 carloads of stone to the Queen City.”

“When the quarry first opened, most employees earned ten to fifteen cents per hour, but by 1920 the salaries had almost doubled. For thirty years the small rural community of Hummel, Kentucky revolved around the quarry and mills owned by the David Hummel Building Company of Cincinnati. Quarrying ended in 1925. The Berea College Library had been built earlier of Kentucky Freestone.” -shb 29 Jun 2006

1807 COUNTY LAYOUT: I found an old map of Kentucky counties that shows shaded areas for 1780 and a darkened area for Lincoln County in 1807. (This map is published on the title page of Lincoln County, Kentucky Wills and Estates 1781-1807, by Charles M. Franklin, found at the FHL, Salt Lake City, Utah, by shb, 16 Jun 2006). The darkened Lincoln County appears to be slightly right and slightly below Kentucky state center. Shaded areas surrounding Lincoln County include Boyle County to the northwest (Mercer County just north of Boyle), Carraro County to the northeast of Lincoln County, Rockcastle County to the east and southeast of Lincoln (with Laurel County to Rockcastle’s southeast, and Clay County east of Laurel), Pulaski County to Lincoln’s south, and Casey County to Lincoln’s southwest.

1808–“STEPHEN LANGFORD” GIVES CONSENT FOR “POLLY LANGFORD” TO MARRY “JOHN WARREN.” Lincoln County Kentucky Records (Kentucky Record Series, Vol. 23), Vol. I, compiled by Michael L. (Evansville, Indiana: Cook Publications), searched by shb, 23 Jun 2007, at the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah (US/CAN 976.9625/V28c), p. 81:  “Bond of JOHN WARREN to marry POLLY LANGFORD, with JOHN GENTRY as surety, September 2, 1808.  Consent of STEPHEN LANGFORD for bride, witnessed by John Gentry.”  –shb 7 Feb 2008

1811–LAND SUIT OUTLINES STEPHEN’S HEIRS: From e-letter of 15 Sep 2006, by Shi Wordsworth, to Ann Langford, a descendant of Stephen. Ann is excited about learning how to trace her ancestry. Shi’s letter to Ann was copied to me, at my request, as I hoped to learn more about the suit I gathered was part of their discussion. Writes Shi: “We have a great researcher who is writing a book on the Wilderness Road, and who has shared his discoveries generously with Bob [meaning John Robert Langford–shb] and with me. As a result of his research, we now have documented proof of the early relationships between the Rockcastle/Pulaski Langfords. The original Stephen Langford of what would become Rockcastle County is first mentioned in Kentucky in the year 1782. Land grant records indicate that between 1782 and his death in 1811, he amassed at least 36,000 acres through both land grants and purchases. When this original Stephen died, his estate was sued, and it’s that lawsuit that establishes those early Langford relationships.

“I’ll try to explain those relationships to you. Maybe that will help you in discovering whether it is Bob’s Stephen or my Robert (both of which are grandsons of the original Stephen) that is actually your grandfather.

“From that lawsuit of 1811, we know that Stephen’s heirs included two sons, Benjamin, born about 1768, and Henry S., born in 1808. Stephen’s first wife and Benjamin’s mother was, we think, a Singleton. Henry S. was the son of Stephen and Lois Mullins who married in 1807.
The lawsuit also lists Stephen’s grandchildren by his son Benjamin. They are Stephen (Bob’s grandfather), Robert (my grandfather), Jonathan, Stacy, and Matilda.

“We know from other records that Stephen also had two daughters who were not listed as heirs in this lawsuit. His daughters were Elizabeth who married John Isham Gentry, and Mary.” –shb 15 Sep 2006

1811, BETWEEN FEBRUARY AND MAY–STEPHEN LANGFORD DIES IN ROCKCASTLE COUNTY, KENTUCKY. From e-letter by Shiron Wordsworth to shb, 13 Apr 2006: ” . . . . He [identified earlier by Shi as “Rockcastle’s Stephen”–shb] died sometime between February and May of 1811. This we can be certain of because Valentine Harmon sued him in February 1811. The lawsuit reverts to his heirs in May of that same year. He died less than a year after Pitt Ben, in fact [referring to the Benjamin Lankford who was of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, who was first sheriff of the area, a Rep. in the Gen. Assembly, and thought to possibly be Rockcastle Stephen’s father-shb]. So the best you can do with your record of Rockcastle Stephen, at present, is to say he was born about 1745 and died in early spring, 1811.” -shb 14 Apr 2006

We received correspondence from David Owen (see below) about hopes to erect a monument, honoring Stephen, with hope to find his burial place. John Robert (“Bob”) Langford visited the Elmwood Cemetery, 24 Sep 2006, and took photos, while hoping to find Stephen’s grave, without success. On 30 Sep 2006, I received a note from David Owen saying he heard that Stephen was buried in Pulaski County, Kentucky. So the actual location of Stephen’s burial still needs to be determined. [Since then, his grave was located–see below–shb.]

ROCKCASTLE COUNTY, KENTUCKY/ HISTORIAN WISHES TO ERECT MONUMENT. Comment placed on my Langford G-log (blog) by David Owen [e-address in Rockcastle Stephen 1’s blind file–shb], 22 July 2006: “Interested in finding burial place of Stephen Langford. I am the historian for the Rockcastle County Cemetery Board and I’m wanting to place a historical marker of his grave as founder of Mt. Vernon. The Rockcastle cemetery book lists two Stephens buried in Elmwood cemetery. One’s dates are too late to be the orginal. The other’s dates are too worn to translate.” [I answered, same day, that I am very interested in his project and also forwarded his note to other researchers in the family (Barry Wood, Shiron Wordsworth, Bob Langford). Also forwarded him all my notes on Stephen Lankford, the 1st Mt. Vernon settler.] –shb 22 July 2006 [My response to David, same day, with copy to our other Langford researchers]:

Subject: Re: [Sherlene’s G-LOG] Comment: “William Langford (1815, KY -1870, m. Nancy Newcomb), of Rockcastle County, Kentucky”

“Hello, David Owens!

“Thank you for commenting on my blog. I am most interested to learn that a marker may be placed there in Elmwood Cemetery to honor Stephen Langford/Lankford as original settler of Mt. Vernon.

“I do not know if anyone knows where the earliest Mt. Vernon Stephen’s grave in Elmwood was. Whether that plot is located or not, and whether you are able to erect a monument for him or not, I still would be most interested if you or a member of your organization could
forward photos of the cemetery, so I can attach them to Stephen’s notes.

“We are currently reworking my notes for the Stephen who first settled Mt. Vernon, as we have some exciting new developments that have led to some new conclusions (not yet totally documented, however). We may have found the parents of Stephen and, possibly, the maiden name of his first wife (he married Lois Mullins late-life), but as I said, for this we seek additional verification.

“I am forwarding your note to several other Langford researchers, two of whom are probably descended from Stephen. I wish I could claim him, but so far the best I can manage is a hope that my ancestor, Joseph Langford, of Crab Orchard, in Lincoln, Kentucky, is Stephen’s nephew.

“As you know, because early records burned, it is hard to prove some of these connections, but we are getting closer.

“Thanks for your historical efforts and interest,

“Sherlene Hall Bartholomew (P.S. I expect to soon place updated notes for the first Stephen in Mt. Vernon on my blog, so you can look there, in case I forget to forward them.)

MORE CARTWHEELS. On receiving David Owen’s correspondence, Shi Wordsworth writes:

“Sherlene, if you were here, I would give you a bear hug so big it would very nearly hurt! I tried kissing your blog, but it ain’t the same!

“For longer than I can remember, I have hoped that Rockcastle would honor Stephen Langford. I would have placed a stone for him myself, if I had possessed the means to do so.

“What wonderful news! And it came to me because of you and that blog you almost gave up on! This is just the best day!

“If Rockcastle does a placement ceremony, you have to come to Kentucky. I’ll get there if I have to ride one of Flint’s horses.

“What do you mean Stephen isn’t yours? Don’t cousins count? Of course they count!

“I’m gonna go turn cartwheels now. It won’t be a pretty sight or I would let you watch.

“Your Cuz in faith and love,

“Rowdy Langford” –shb 23 July 2006

KENTUCKY REUNION PLANNED: I wrote back to Shi that I would definitely want to join her there in Kentucky, at placement of Stephen’s monument, as she suggests. Her response: “I plan to get to Rockcastle if I have to ride one of Flint’s fine horses. If I have to crawl, I will get there! And, yes, the Rockcastle reunion sounds like such fun, it will be illegal. We’ll corral the Colonel and get him to take us to R Stephen 2’s grave just inside the Daniel Boone National Forest. And maybe we can get hold of that young researcher to take us to all the places back in the back of beyond that are meaningful to the Langfords. I’ll see if I can get directions to the Bethurum’s homestead. And we can make a family picture beside that fine monument. Sounds like more fun than Gulf Shores to me!” –shb 23 July 2006
BURIAL IN ELMWOOD CEMETERY. Stephen’s descendants arranged a Langford Family Reunion, to be held in Mt. Vernon, this May 27, 2007. The event was positioned around a celebration by area historians, planning to erect a monument honoring Stephen. Several descendants had expressed frustration at the fact that nobody seemed to really know where Stephen was buried, though it was presumed to have been in Elmwood Cemetery. So it was with extra delight that I received this letter from Bob Langford, a direct descendant of Stephen’s, whose ancestor, “Flintlock Stephen,” lived beside my ancestor, Walker Lankford, in the 1840 Census of Pulaski County, Kentucky. We still do not know how Mt. Vernon Stephen is related to my ancestor Joseph, Walker’s father, but finding that is, I think, only a matter of time. Writes Bob, 3 Feb 2007 (sorry the blue and red lettering doesn’t show up here):

“In Search of Stephen’s Grave

“The date for the reunion was set. Invitations had been sent. Response was encouraging. RSVP’s were pouring in from all across the country. Only one thing was missing …..The Guest of Honor himself.

“In the nearly 200 years since his death in 1811, the exact location of Stephen Langford’s grave had been lost. There were rumors, based on recollections, that were more than half a century old. Family legend said that he was buried in Rockcastle very near the site of Langford Station, that tavern on the Wilderness Road where he supplied immigrants to Kentucky with food, a bed to sleep in, protection from Indian attack, and perhaps a little rum to ward off an autumn chill.

“But rumor was all that could be had concerning this pioneer’s grave, until… Saturday, February 27, 2007, when Research Historian, Jeff Renner, visited the old Elmwood Cemetery in Mt. Vernon, Kentucky. Here in Jeff’s own words is what he discovered:

“‘I found Stephen’s stone. It is indeed in Elmwood Cemetery, just very, very hard to read. I caught a glimpse of what I thought was “TEP” on one of the old stones, so I got some flour and used it to bring out the detail. There’s no question it says….

“‘IN MEMORY OF STEPHEN LANGFORD”. (For the name especially, see the attached computer- enhanced photo.)

“‘There are no dates or other information on the stone, nor any indication there ever was. he stone is broken roughly in half. It’s in the oldest section of the cemetery. There are no marked graves close on either side of it.

“‘The red arrows in the attached “elmwood1.jpg” and “elmwood2.jpg” photos show the relative location of the stone.

“‘The stone does not appear to be the type that was stuck vertically in the ground. The beveled edge seen in the photo goes all around the edge. I would guess this was the top cap stone of a sarcophagus-like monument, similar to those seen in the attached ” williamsmith.jpg” photo (that one was taken in 1911 and is of William Smith and his wife; the location is shown by the green arrow in elmwood2). The structure was probably not exactly the same, as the Smith monument tops lacked the bevel and were thicker.

“‘The Langford stone is very similar in size and thickness to the ones of Mary Lewis (foreground of elmwood2), Mar? Carson (laying right of the bush and tree stump in front of Langford in elmwood1.jpg), and a couple of other early markers in the cemetery, and has the same bevel. The Lewis marker has several of what looks to be the remains of the support stones underneath it. There are only a few such stones under the Langford marker. The large vertical marker in the center of elmwood1 is Joseph Carson, who died in 1815. ……Jeff ‘

“There are many strange coincidences in life. How odd that Stephen’s stone should be discovered in 2007, the very year that The First Annual Stephen Langford Memorial Reunion takes place.

“Join us in Mt. Vernon, Ky on May 27. You won’t want to miss Jeff Renner’s description of life in early Kentucky along the Wilderness Road. Food, fun, and fellowship are also on the agenda. Be there because…

“It Simply Won’t Be The Same Without You!

“The Stephen Langford Memorial Reunion Staff” –shb 3 Feb 2007

1813–SUIT INVOLVES STEPHEN LANGFORD, DECEASED–IS IT THE GENERAL WILLIAM SMITH, WHO IS AN ADMINISTRATOR [SEE PHOTO OF HIS GRAVESTONE, ATTACHED]? DID STEPHEN HAVE A WILL? Ohio County Kentucky Records, Vol. I, by Michael L. Cook and Bettie A. Cummings Cook (Evansville, Indiana: Cook Publications), 1986, searched at the Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, by shb, 28 Sep 2006, p. 246: “p. 513, June 1813, JAMES JOHNSTON, Deputy Sheriff for THOMAS SMITH, Sheriff, to THOMAS MONTGOMERY of Lincoln County, conveys title to 1,500 acres as the result of a suit of debt in Lincoln County Circuit Court by WILLIAM CARSON and WILLIAM SMITH, Administrators of STEPHEN LANGFORD dec’d, against the Estate of JOHN COCHRAN and JANE COCHRAN his wife, late JANE CROW, JOHN THOMPSON, and ANN THOMPSON his wife, late ANN CROW, JOHN CROW, JOHN CROW dec’d. The Court decreed Sheriff Johnston to sell the 1,500 acres at Public Sale for PHILIP THOMPSON was highest bidder and purchased the land for the use of Thomas Montgomery for $25. Recorded 9 July 1813.” –shb 28 Sep 2006 [I forwarded this to Langford family researcher Shi Wordsworth and my brother-in-law, Barry Wood, an attorney and genealogist, to see if they thought this suit applied to Stephen, who settled Mt. Vernon. I had been under the impression that since the 1811 court case spoke of Stephen’s heirs, that he must have left a will (which Shi said they thought burned with the local courthouse). So I wondered whether this Stephen, whose estate was being settled by an administrator, could be the same Stephen. I value these responses that helped clear the matter and fortify that this suit indeed involved our Stephen 1 (we sometimes call him “Rockcastle Stephen”). Shi Wordsworth responded, in red print, to portions of Barry’s letter, as it went along, so I will include her responses in brackets to Barry’s letter of 29 Sep 2006:

“Sorry to be a pain about this, but I’m having trouble understanding what the issue is here. In part this may be because I can’t recall the details of the 1811 suit.

[Shi: “Stephen was the executor of Pitt Ben’s will along with John Turner. Pitt Ben’s son, Benjamin, inherited the land, “upwards of 500 acres” that belonged to Pitt Ben. The rest of the estate was to be equally divided among all his children which are named as Stephen, Mary Todd, Ann Madison, Sarah Brown, Kitty Turner, and Henrietta. In 1810, Stephen Langford owned nearly 39,000 acres in Kentucky. While it can never be proved legally, it does seem a logical assumption that Pitt Ben would leave his acreage to his son, Ben, since Stephen was land wealthy in his own right at that time. Pitt Ben’s will, however, is irrelevant in this case.

“The 1811 lawsuit in Lincoln County, KY, involved only Stephen’s estate. Stephen died between February 1811 when the Lincoln County, Kentucky, suit was first brought and when it reverted to his heirs in May of 1811.”]

“I thought that that 1811 suit was started before Rockcastle Stephen died, and brought him into it only on account of his status as a beneficiary of the estate of Pitt Ben.

“I do not understand the logical leap represented by the sentence stating that because Stephen had heirs, he must have had a will [that was my misunderstanding–shb]. To be very technical, the opposite is true. A man who disposed of his real estate by will left it to his DEVISEES, and his personal property to his LEGATEES. In contrast, title to the real and personal property of someone who died without a will (intestate) vested at the moment of death in the heirs as tenants in common. [Shi: “See next.”]

“The identity of a person’s heirs was determined by statute. Typically, the wife was entitled to a life estate in one third of the real property of her husband (her dower). The other heirs — the ones to whom the 2/3 descended immediately, as well as the “fee” interest in the property covered by the dower — consisted of the children, if a man left children, or if not, then his ultimate heirs were his siblings of the whole blood, or their surviving heirs.

[Shi: “This seems to me to reinforce the presumption of a will for Stephen. His wife, Lois, received 75 acres of Stephen’s land (originally part of the Barbour grant) which was certainly not a third of his estate. The vast bulk of his estate, is, in succeeding years, administerd by her in behalf of her son and Stephen’s youngest child, Henry, who was a toddler at the time of his father’s death.

“In 1834, John Ishom Gentry, husband of Stephen’s daughter, Elizabeth, sued Stephen’s estate for 350 acres of land on which they were living at the time. Gentry won the suit. I have to at least wonder why this lawsuit would have been necessary had Elizabeth been the beneficiary of that part of Stehen’s estate which would have been legally hers as the child of a parent who died intestate. It would seem that this was an attempt to recover part of Stephen’s estate for Elizabeth. Neither Elizabeth nor Matilda, both daughters of Stephen, are listed in the 1811 lawsuit as his heirs although they are known to be children of his. Could it be that Stephen made provision in his will for only his two sons, Benjamin and Henry, and that is why his daughters are not party to the 1811 lawsuit?

“If Stephen died intestate, how can the actual division of his estate be explained given the laws governing inheritance in effect at that time?

“An arsonist burned the courthouse in Mt. Vernon in 1873. All county records were lost. If Stephen Langford had a will in 1811, and it was recorded in Rockcastle County and preserved there in 1873, then his will is lost to us.”]

“Sure, a man could designate one or more executors in his will. But if the designated executors were unable or unwilling to serve, then the court would appoint an adminstrator, sometimes called an administrator ‘de bonis non’ or ‘dba,’ to do the job. I have also seen an adminstrator of a testate estate called an adminstrator ‘c.t.a.’ for ‘cum testamento annexo,’ meaning that a copy of the will was attached to his letters of administration.

“Accordingly, I see no reason to assume that the Stephen Langford on whose behalf this suit against the Crow heirs was pursued was anyone other than Rockcastle Stephen.

[Shi: “I think this is definitely Stephen1 of Rockcastle. For a time the court in 1811, presumed incorrectly that Stephen’s son, Benjamin, was also dead. Given that assumption, the court appointed William Carson as guardian for Henry, and Benjamin’s children, Robert, Stephen, Stacy and Matilda Langford. Since William Carson’s name appears in this lawsuit, I think that it’s reasonable to conclude that this lawsuit involves Rockcastle Stephen’s estate.”]

“Barry” –shb 1 Oct 2006

[Barry’s response to Shi’s comments, 30 Sep 2006]:

“These are VERY helpful and enlightening comments. Thank you!

“I’m curious about the 39,000 acres. Were they all in Rockcastle? If he owned land in another county, technically the proper procedure would have been to record a copy of the will in every county where he owned land. This is why my 3rd great grandfather David Young’s will is recorded both in Morgan County, Ohio (where he owned land) and Loudoun County, Virginia (where he lived).

“I knew about the vexing courthouse fire in Mt. Vernon, but I’m wondering whether a copy of Stephen’s will might have been preserved through recordation in another county.

“Your deduction about Elizabeth and Matilda makes sense to me. And I agree that Lois should have had a life estate in about 13,000 acres, rather than just 75, if Stephen died intestate. Of course, he could not deprive her of her dower just by writing her in for less in the will, unless she specifically consented to the terms of the will. But maybe she preferred to have 75 acres of good land near town, with her house on it, as compared with 13,000 acres of hill and dale, especially if the deal allowed her to not to forfeit that property even if she remarried.

“Barry” –shb 1 Oct 2006

IS STEPHEN’S WILL RECORDED IN A COUNTY OUTSIDE ROCKCASTLE? E-letter from Shi Wordsworth, 1 Oct 2006, in response to some of the above correspondence with Barry D. Wood and shb (Sherlene H. Bartholomew):

“The idea of a copy of that will [Henry’s father Stephen’s–shb] being in another county is one to shout about! Great idea!!! [My attorney brother-in-law, Barry Wood, suggested that since Stephen’s land was in so many other counties, perhaps his will was recopied and retained elsewhere, so that even if the Rockcastle County Courthouse burned down, it may still be of record, somewhere else–shb.] I know of these counties where he owned land: Laurel, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Madison, Witley, Casey, Ohio, Knox, and, of all places, far away Barren County. There may be more counties that I don’t know about.

“You would think that Lincoln County would have that will since the 1811 lawsuit was filed there. But our Boy Wonder researcher [wants to keep his name anonymous–shb] says that so far, he can’t find such a document among their archives. He’s also trying to find the court records from the Harpes’ trial for murdering Thomas Langford. The location of those documents seems to be a huge mystery even to Lincoln County. Lincoln County says that those records just “disappeared” from their files. Boy Wonder thinks they may have been moved to Frankfort for some reason, but I haven’t heard whether or not he’s done any exploring there recently, and since his research involves mostly land grants, I’m not sure how much emphasis he’s placing on a murder trial from 1799.

“What’s absolutely baffling to me about Stephen’s will is that it doesn’t appear to be listed in any of the Kentucky Deeds and Wills books. I’ve never seen a listing for his will anywhere. And yet…the disposition of his property makes me think there must have been one. Stephen’s land was administered by Louis for his ‘heirs.’ I wonder if that word ‘heirs’ indicated Benjamin’s children as well, or if it was just a generic phrasing commonly used at that time.

“Our Boy Wonder says that it appears from records he’s examined that Henry was the heir apparent, and that the vast majority of Stephen’s estate was ultimately in his hands. Henry served in the Legislature in 1836 and 1837. In 1840, he was stabbed in downtown Mt. Vernon at age 32. His death provoked the first ‘legal’ hanging in the county (which phrase begs the question how many ‘illegal’ hangings had occurred).

“If Henry was ever married, I’ve never found a record of it or any indication that he had any children. What happened to Stephen’s land after Henry’s death is another mystery. Langfords were living on land Stephen had owned, so maybe Henry gave them that land after he assumed responsibility for the estate.

“Other than the lawsuit in behalf of Stephen’s daughter, Elizabeth, the Langfords didn’t seem to fuss and feud over Stephen’s land. I’ve never found any indication that the Langfords were on the “outs’ with one another over land or anything else for that matter. Actually the more we know about the Langfords from documented sources, the more questions arise. Maybe that’s why I love them. They are never static, and they are always decidedly mysterious.

“Shi” –shb 2 Oct 2006

SUIT OVER LAND LOST BY LANGFORDS BECAUSE STEPHEN DIED AND BENJAMIN DID NOT SHOW UP IN COURT. Letter from Shiron Wordsworth to shb, 15 Sep 2006: “Stephen’s son, Benjamin, disappears from the tax list after 1805. His wife Nancy filed for divorce in 1806. She failed to get an actual divorce decree, and it’s our supposition that Benjamin left Kentucky after that nasty cat fight in court. Besides, what man would want to stay on and watch his wife live in open and ‘criminal’ conduct with a neighbor next door?

“I feel relatively sure that Benjamin went to Alabama mainly because that’s where Bob’s Stephen found his wife in Mobile County [Shi speaks of our cousin correspondent, John Robert Langford–shb]. It would be logical to assume that Bob’s Stephen visited with his father in exile down near Gulf Shores, where my family loves to vacation now. (Is the world small or what?) Bob seems to think Benjamin had relatives there, but I can’t make the connection, and what he tells me doesn’t have solid evidence enough for me to prove a case for relatives in that area. I tend to think that Benjamin was so hacked and humiliated over Nancy that he just took off and didn’t stop until the Gulf of Mexico said he had to stop.

“The Langfords lost that lawsuit because Benjamin never appeared in court. At first, the courts believed Benjamin was dead, and that’s why his heirs were listed in the suit. Between 1811 and 1814, it was discovered that Benjamin was alive, so once again the suit changed. By 1816, Benjamin still had not appeared in court, so the decision went by default against the Langfords.

“In this case, Grandpa Benjamin was a stinker!” –shb 15 Sep 2006

1830 CENSUS–STEPHEN’S DESCENDANT, STEPHEN2, AND JOSEPH’S DESCENDANT, WALKER, ARE LISTED NEXT TO EACH OTHER IN THE PULASKI COUNTY CENSUS.  After both attending the first annual Stephen Langford Memorial Reunion, held in Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle County, Kentucky, on 27 May 2007, Bob Langford (a descendant of Stephen2) and Sherlene Hall Bartholomew (of Walker Lankford) asked local historian, Jeff Renner, to tell us how far apart their properties actually were, as Stephen and Walker were listed next to each other in the 1830 Census (Jeff, though, had warned that this did not necessarily mean they were next door neighbors, as plantations were so far apart). Jeff’s response was to send a map, 31 May 2007, as now attached to Stephen’s media file.  He writes:  “Attached is a map of roughly the eastern half of Pulaski County. The red circle is where y’all took the pics at the old chimney on Walker’s former property. The blue circle is the mouth of Lick Creek on the Rockcastle River.  It’s seven miles between the two, straight line. By water (down Line Creek to its mouth at the Rockcastle River, where the Warren land was, to the mouth of Lick Creek) it’s 12 miles. By road today, although I don’t think all of the route is navigatable in a regular vehicle, it’s 13 miles.  Jeff.”  –shb 31 May 2007

SUBJECT OF COLUMN: I wrote this column about some of what I learned, researching this branch of Langfords, with help from Shiron and my brother-in-law, Barry Wood, who has done some Langford research. I did submit this column, and my editor said she did want to use it, but wanted me to cut it by about one-third. By then, I was tired, and since Shi then told me she objected to the part about Langford temper and possible abuse of slaves and children (all she has heard is about good relationships with slaves and has not seen a history of temper and abuse, at least within Langford families, in her line), and also because there are still so many unanswered questions, I decided to shelve the article, rather than revamp it. [I got a second wind later and cut it by over a thousand words, after which it was published. This shorter, published version can be found in notes of my ancestor, Fielding Langford, ID 228–shb.] Still, there is enough good and factual info. here, I have decided to include it, hoping we can build on that and clear up some of the questions. Here is the MS, as submitted (and then rejected):


By Sherlene Hall Bartholomew

Slavery and Redemption
on Every Family Tree

My genealogist mother, Ida-Rose Langford Hall, died almost a year ago. Since then, there’s little doubt but that she and her gregarious clan are tending the unusually bounteous harvest that has since ripened on her family tree. The problem is that we have gleaned some tantalizing fruit, but lack the facility to safely “can it.”

The Rockcastle County, Kentucky courthouse burned down in 1873. According to the County GenWeb site, “virtually all local records-marriage, estate, court, land-were destroyed.” This has made researching in Rockcastle very challenging, though we have faith that God has provided alternative information–we just need to find it. We have gathered stray facts here and there over the years, but it remains difficult to document early Langford family connections.

My ancestor Walker Langford (or Lankford) left Kentucky for Indiana in 1830. There, his son Fielding Langford (1804-1882) joined the LDS Church and soon moved west. After some 175 years our branch has connected with Shiron Wordsworth, a descendant of those who stayed in Rockcastle. Her tales about Langfords in Kentucky have quickened more than one of my Meridian columns. Daniel Boone is her (several times) great-uncle, but she claims “he’s not even remotely as much fun as the Langfords. Certainly I’m proud of him, but there’s not much mystery to his escapades. It’s the unknowns that make our Langfords so much fun.”

Of unknowns there are plenty. Both of us believe that our respective “first settler” Langford ancestors in Rockcastle County,Joseph and Stephen, were brothers, though we have yet to cinch that link. Still, the probability that we are cousins is high, fortified by family resemblance that stares back from family photos from each branch. So Shi and I share our harvests, worms and all, picking through the heap to sort out truth from tall tales.

Langford Liberties

Shi recently renewed my curiosity about a family legend that her third great-grandfather, Liberty Langford, fathered children by one of his slaves. A cousin in Cincinnati told her that he “fathered two daughters (at least) by a slave named Fanny. They migrated to western Ohio somewhere between the years 1855 and 1860 . . . . The girls were named Nancy (b. 1852) and Ann (b. 7 Nov 1853).”

The family has thought that Liberty descended from Stephen Langford, the pioneer who led first settlers into the County in 1790. Though Stephen owned much land and the proverbial southern white mansion, Shiron tells me that in 1810 he only had nine slaves, before he died the next year. As Shi explains: “Rockcastle County never was a plantation society. Its hills don’t prosper such cash crops as cotton and tobacco that required much slave labor. The Langfords farmed, and they did have substantial land holdings. But they prospered from enterprises such as milling, horse trading, timbering, and quarrying.

“For a time there,” she continues, “if my source is correct, Liberty ran Langford Station, their stop in the Underground Railroad, as a type of hotel, probably catering to the stagecoaches passing through the county. So, while the Langfords did lose the monetary value placed on their slaves, prior to the Civil War, their economic welfare was not tied totally to the comparatively few slaves they owned. This may account for their Republican sympathies. They did not stand to lose everything, if their slaves were freed. In fact, after the war, their problems were with Klan warfare in the county. You may remember that Liberty’s son, James H. Langford, was finally killed by the KKK. James’ oldest son Liberty, named after his grandfather, was also murdered in the County, though we don’t know for sure that we can hold the Klan responsible for that one.”

[Insert Photo #1 – Caption]:

Photo in collection of Ida-Rose L. Hall that she labeled as the “old Stephen Langford house,” on the Wilderness Road, in Mt. Vernon, Rockcastle, Kentucky. [Note: For those reading this in Stephen Lankford’s notes, I have attached this photo to Stephen’s Legacy media file-shb. Or, Google has picked up this Meridian column, along with its photos, so it could be viewed in whole, there–shb.]

Secret Trap Doors

Writes Shiron, “In the book, Rockcastle County, Kentucky and its People, 1992, Langford Station is pictured. It’s obviously the same house as the one in the photo your mother took” (as pictured above).

Shi’s grandmother knew Ruth McFerron Leach, who by account in this book, “bought the house in later years . . . had the house taken down . . . and discovered that it had been used as part of the Underground Railroad. This was the way slaves were transported from the South to the North to freedom. The house had many secret trap doors throughout. It had a big cellar used to hide the slaves.”

Jokes Shiron: “Were the Langfords simply lecherous masters, making babies with their helpless slave girls? Were they secret, yet principled participants in the cause for abolition? Did they continue to keep slaves during the 1850s, as a ‘front’ for the illegal activities on the Underground Railroad? Or were they simply schizophrenic, feeling one way Monday and another, Tuesday, so that they sent their personal slaves to work in the fields, during daylight hours, while helping other people’s slaves to freedom at midnight? Go figure!

“Exaggerated humor aside, there are some missing pieces of the puzzle concerning the Langfords and their relationship with their personal slaves, in particular, and the institution of slavery, in general. James H. Langford’s life was saved, before the Klan finally got him, by a former slave named Uncle Alf. One dark night in Rockcastle County, long after the Civil War was over, the Klan was hot on the trail of that Langford, but this vulnerable ex-slave refused to disclose James’ hiding place. Uncle Alf was roughed up because of his pretended ignorance as to where James had gone to ground. I have to wonder what precipitated such courage and loyalty on the part of Uncle Alf. There’s something more to this story. I just haven’t found it yet.”

[Insert Photo #2 – Caption]:

Side view, home of James Steven or “Tip” Langford, also in Mt. Vernon, Rock Castle’s county seat. Tip was sheriff of Rockcastle County, Kentucky, in the 1920s. He was the son of James H. and Liberty Langford’s grandson. Report is that his home was a stone’s throw from settler Stephen Langford’s original mansion. Neither home survives. (Photo courtesy of Shiron Wordsworth.) [This photo also attached, for readers here, in Stephen’s Legacy media file-shb.]

First Name Census Index Searches

Thinking on all this, I once again felt Mom urging from beyond the veil, as I lay awake, wondering how we might find slave Fanny and her two daughters, supposedly sired by Liberty Langford. Then I remembered that I could do an on-line census first-name-only search. So I typed spelling variations of “Fanny” in the first-name field for the entire state of Ohio and spent several hours checking the family of every one who came up in the census index. (I was checking HeritageQuest on-line indexed census images.)

I had no luck finding a Fanny with daughters Ann and Nancy, which was quite a disappointment, after all that effort. Then it occurred to me that maybe she kept her Langford name after she was freed. I did a search for all Langfords in Ohio, in the 1860 Census (just typed “Langford” in the surname field), and as the alphabetized list came up, I found her as “Frances,” at first click on “Craig Langford”! What a thrill! (You might have seen me levitate at this point, without any help from deceased Langfords!)

Sensing the Census

I learned that Frances was living in Wayne, Butler, Ohio, in 1860. She was age thirty-one, “keeping house” for head of the family, Craig Langford, who was eleven years her senior. (In two subsequent censuses, she is named as “Fanny” and “Fannie.”) The census taker listed eight children in their 1860 household, including Nancy and Ann, of ages to match the dates Shiron shared from her cousin, as found in county vital statistics (we have not yet seen these records, so cannot confirm that their father really is named as “Liberty,” though that was the report). A William Langford is listed last and is the right age to be Craig’s brother, though he could have been another slave from the plantation (Rockcastle County slaves, like many others, carried their masters’ names). Here is my transcription of that census:

139/129 Craig Langford 42M[ale] B[lack] Farmer 400 200 [b. in ] Kentucky, can’t read or write
Frances 31 F ditto can’t read or write Kentucky
Mary C. 15 F ditto attended school in year Kentucky
Americus 13 M ditto attended school in year Kentucky
Robert 12 M ditto attendedschool in year Kentucky
Walter 10 M ditto attended school in year Kentucky
Nancy 9 F ditto attended school in year Kentucky
Ann E. 7 F ditto attended school in year Kentucky
Isaac 5 M ditto attended school in year Kentucky
Stephen 1 M ditto Ohio
Wm. Langford 31 M ditto Farm Hand can’t read or write Kentucky

(Source: HeritageQuest on-line image, accessed 3 Feb 2006, by shb, via Godfrey Memorial Library: Wayne Township, Butler County, Ohio, Series M653, Roll 941, Page 278, census taken 9 June 1860.)

A four year break in ages of the last two children, Isaac (age five, born in Kentucky, and Stephen, age one, in Ohio) sent us looking for another possible child, who might have been left behind in Kentucky. We may have found one. In earlier notes, I found this listing for Liberty’s family, in 1870:

“370. LANGFORD, Liberty 60 M W Farmer 2500 1000 Kentucky
Sallie 60 F W Keeping House Kentucky
Mary F. 25 F W At Home Kentucky
Peter 14 M B Works on Farm Kentucky
Robert 7 M M [so b. 1863-shb] Kentucky

(Source: Kentucky 1870 Census, Vol. 29 (1-357 A), film 593, Roll 497, p. 58, by Shirley Cummins (Mt. Vernon, Kentucky 40456: Rockcastle County Historical Society, Inc., P.O. Box 930), 1985, searched at the FHL, Salt Lake City, Utah, by shb.)

This listing indicates that a Peter, born about 1856, may have been born of Fanny. Since Fanny was in Ohio by 1860, it is likely that Robert, listed as age 7 and a mulatto, was born of another slave (this record did give us additional pause about Liberty’s liberties). Perhaps one reason Craig and Fanny kept their Langford name, after obtaining freedom, was so that Peter, still living in Kentucky, with Liberty and Shi’s ancestor (his legal, white wife) Sallie could someday find them (if he was, indeed, Liberty’s offspring).

Everyone in the 1860 Ohio household of Craig and Frances Langford was listed as black, with no ‘M’ to indicate ‘mulatto’, though white clerks often listed “B” for any person of mixed racial identity (then again, skin color does not always reflect actual degrees of mix). We can’t discern which children, if any, were born of Craig, since they carried prominent Langford first names instead of names like “Mingo” that were often given to slaves.

Scheduling slaves

Now let’s look at slave schedules found and forwarded by Shiron to see if any listed there could have ended up in the Ohio Craig Langford household [I have added my comments in brackets, like these]:

Writes Shi, “I looked at the slave schedules for 1850 and 1860. Liberty Langford in 1850 had the following slaves;

“1 Black Female age 23
1 Black Female age 5
1 Black Female age 3
1 Black Male age 1

[In the 1860 Census of Wayne, Butler, Ohio, Mary C., age 15, Americus or America, age 13, and Robert, age 12, are the first three listed children, in the family of Craig and Frances Langford-so, comparing ages with the 1850 slave schedule, above, this does look like a fit. Was Frances the black female, age 23, in this 1850 slave schedule? (She is listed as age 31 ten years later, in the 1860 Census, but census ages are often off by a year or two.) Then Fanny apparently continued, after 1850, having the additional five children listed in Ohio: Nancy (9, in Ohio in 1860), Ann E. (7), Isaac (5), and Stephen (1).]

“In 1860 he [Liberty] had the following slaves:

“1 Black Male age 22
Number of slave houses: 1

[Note that the female slave and the three children shown in the 1850 Census are no longer listed. A probable reason for this will be explained later.]

“Now look at this. I have the slave schedule for Robert Langford from 1850. He has the following slaves:

“1 Black Female age 50
1 Black Male age 31 [Craig Langford was 42 in the Ohio 1860-close enough.]
1 Black Male age 25
1 Black Male age 23 [William Langford was 31 in the Ohio 1860-could fit.]
1 Black Female age 20 [Frances or “Fanny” was age 31 in the Ohio 1860-could she have migrated between households and been scheduled twice?]

[Shi provides good evidence that a Robert Langford (wife Frances Head) was Liberty’s father, though we still lack that paper trail documentation Shi wisely requires.]

Shiron suggests that these records at least open the possibility that Robert could have fathered Fanny’s children, despite the legend Shi heard from her Cincinnati cousin that it was Liberty.

Then there is the chance that Fanny’s children, as listed in the Ohio 1860 Census, had more than one white father. It is also possible that these children in Ohio could have been born in Kentucky to more than one slave mother (perhaps the two females listed in households of Liberty and Robert in 1850 were different persons). Since all the Craig Langford family children in Ohio were listed as “black,” we might also learn that Craig, while working as a Langford slave in Kentucky, fathered them all (except Nancy and Ann, perhaps). It is also, of course, possible that not all of Craig’s children were born of the same mother–especially after their master claimed Fanny as his mistress. The complexities, trying to compile family group records for former slaves, can boggle the mind.

There is, however, a grain of truth in most family legends. Shi and I resolved to find all the documentation we can to either strengthen or dismiss this family tale about a white Langford having children by his slave.

DNA Dilemma

I began to think that DNA testing might be the only sure way to place children listed with Craig Langford in Ohio. This hope was fortified by Part II of the PBS special, “African American Life” that traced the DNA of famous black persons like Oprah to specific locales!

However, cousin Delight Heckelman pointed me to an article titled “In Our Blood,” in the Feb. 6, 2006 Newsweek. An insert on page 54 states: “Did Thomas Jefferson father as many as six children with his slave Sally Hemings? In 1998, scientists tracing the Y chromosome from father to son said, ‘Yes, Jefferson was the most likely candidate–at least for one of Hemings’s children.’ But the controversy continues because DNA evidence can’t absolutely prove it; another male Jefferson could have been the culprit.”

Shiron wrote that we may never prove who fathered Fanny’s children. In some cases all we can do is take a combination of facts, common sense, and DNA evidence, while continuing the search for better documentation.

In the meantime, I wonder how I should for now enter these children who are listed with Craig and Frances Langford, in the 1860 Ohio Census. I certainly don’t want to lose track of them. For now, I have placed them all in my Craig Langford family group, with accompanying notes about evidence of a potential biological white Langford father.

Rioting in Rockcastle

After all the excitement of finding Fanny in Ohio, I wanted to learn all I could about life in Rockcastle County, just before the 1860 Census. At BYU’s Harold B. Lee Library, I found the history of a bordering county: Madison County: 200 Years in Retrospect,” by William E. Ellis, H. E. Everman, and Richard D. Sears (published by the Madison County Historical Society). This volume, at pp. 123-153, brought alive the rioting, threats of violence, and arson perpetrated by area pro-slavery factions. In one case, John G. Fee, an abolitionist minister, was forcibly removed from his pulpit and marched over ten miles, from Rockcastle County to nearby Crab Orchard. For a while there in Rockcastle, communicants at churches with abolitionist ministers were mainly women, while their men stood in surrounding woods, guns aimed at would-be arsonists, who did succeed in turning one Rockcastle church to ashes. On another occasion, they succeeded in burning down the home of an abolitionist whose young family narrowly escaped the flames.

Jesse Keeps the Peace

In 1860, a pro-slavery Kentucky legislature passed a law that any citizen freeing slaves had to immediately get them out of the state. No freed slaves could enter the state. I googled “Craig Langford,” without expecting to find much. Up came the link to a page about the Underground Railroad. Of all things, this information brought my father’s kin and my mother’s Langfords together in a story fraught with irony–long before my parents met!

Here I learned about Levi Coffin, a member of the Society of Friends (“Quaker”) and reputed president of the Underground Railroad. His home had a hidden door behind a bed and a covered inside well. With the support of his wife Catharine, he helped over 2,000 slaves find their way to freedom! [Click on “Levi Coffin,” above, for photos of their home arrangements for hiding slaves and other detail.] [Please make a link of “Levi Coffin,” first line of this paragraph to <; – wonderful photos of what I have just described and also of Levi and his wife.]

Levi and I are both descended from Tristram Coffin, born in 1609, in Plymouth, England. He crossed the ocean to become a founding father of Nantucket. The Coffins were very independent, active, principled people, qualities passed down to Levi. Levi was also a distant cousin of Mormon pioneer Heber C. Kimball.

Levi Coffin recorded a visit with the Stubbs family in West Elkton, Indiana, in their joint endeavors to free slaves. The “Squire Stubbs” he stayed with on one stop was probably Jesse Stubbs, then Justice of the Peace. [Please make a link of the word “journal” in the first line to <; ]

Jesse advanced most of the $5,062 needed to free an entire slave family. Then he traveled to Rockcastle County to redeem the Craig Langford slave family! (More levitation, without help, on finding that sentence!) I reviewed my notes of the 1870 Census that lists Craig and Fanny and children, in Ohio. Look at the name of their last child:

60/60 Langford, Craig 52M B Farmer 1100 Kentucky
, Fanny 43F B Keep House Kentucky
, Robert 22M B Farm Laborer Kentucky
, Walter 20M B Farm Laborer Kentucky
, Annie 16F B At Home Kentucky
, Isaac 15M B At Home Kentucky
, Stephen 11M B At Home Kentucky [1860 says Ohio]
, Jesse S. 9M B Kentucky

(Source: HeritageQuest on-line image: P.O. Jacksonsborough, Wayne Township, Butler County, Ohio – Series M593, Roll 1177, Page 490, taken 4 June 1870.)

Craig and family prospered in Ohio and managed to pay back most of what Jesse Stubbs and his neighbors raised to free them.

Better than Fiction

Shi and I have a long way to go before we have answered our many questions with adequate documentation. Nevertheless, it appears that my father’s relatives helped redeem a family owned by my mother’s! History sometimes reads better than fiction.

[Insert Photo #3, caption]:

The author’s family in 1976: Back L-R Sherlene, H. Tracy, Jr., Elizabeth, David R; Front L-R Virginia, Charlotte, H. Tracy, Sr. (sustained that day as an LDS bishop), Ida-Rose (Langford), and Nancy Hall.

One thing we soon learn, doing this research: each answer we get only raises more questions. For example, now that I know Jesse Stubbs and his friends purchased freedom for the Craig Langfords, I have sent off letters, trying to find answers to such questions as:

1) Is there a receipt book stating to whom Jesse paid the $5,062?
2) Do you know how the Ohio Quakers found out about this Langford slave family?
3) Why was this particular slave family chosen?
4) How did Jesse get the family safely out of Kentucky in 1858? Did he perhaps make use of the Langford Underground Railroad that is also legend in our family? Is it possible that Jesse knew that money would go to strengthen the abolitionist cause in Kentucky?
5) Do Society of Friends archives include correspondence from children of Craig and Fanny? (Early censuses record that the parents could not read or write.)
6) Is there a record of how the Craig Langfords paid off their freedom debt? In what increments, at what times, and by whom and to whom was this repaid?
7) Is there any record of what happened to any descendants of Craig and Fanny? (I have traced several in the censuses, trying to learn more.)

While compiling these questions, I thought that perhaps Jesse knew the Langfords would use that money to fortify abolitionist efforts, there in Kentucky. There has to be a reason why Craig and Fanny named a son “Stephen,” born in Ohio, shortly after their escape. It would hardly make sense that a slave who hated his white master would give his child an important name in his master’s line! I later learned that these same thoughts also occurred to Shi–in fact, our letters crossed, with some of this same speculation. Obviously, Langford ghosts are still alive and well.

Speculations aside, we’re hoping to soon get answers to our questions, though sometimes the more we learn, the more we don’t know, if you see what I mean. Part of enjoying genealogy and family history is learning to live with a certain level of ambiguity, without getting so discouraged, we stop asking those important questions. That way, we can get answers that invite even more questions.

Anguish at “The Tree”

There are those who never ask questions for fear of what they might learn. To remain in such ignorance is itself a form of self-enslavement. Others very well know the facts, but prefer to sweep them under that already-bulging rug, caring little how their children might fall, tripping over what they cannot see.

We all need to overcome insecurities that make us afraid to know who we really are. Nothing we ever find can override the fact that we are all created in the image of our Savior, who said: “. . . If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples, indeed. And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” [John 8:31-32] Then He went on to explain what His fellow Jews might have learned from their Abrahamic genealogy (and what we might also learn from ours).

Abolitionist Langfords in Nauvoo

As noted above, I descend from Walker Lankford (m. Mary or “Polly” Warren), of Lincoln County, Kentucky and Clay County, Indiana. According to a GenWeb “Table of Events” in Rockcastle County, in 1750, a “Thomas Walker noted a rock on a mountain above Livingston that resembled a castle,” the eventual source of the county’s name. Assuming that my Walker was related to Thomas, I tell Shi my people got there and named Rockcastle before her Stephen even knew it existed.

In 1830, Fielding married Sarah Bethurem (b. 1809, in Rockcastle County, to David P. and Margaret [Kincaid] Bethurem). The young couple soon moved to Indiana. They converted to the “Mormon” faith in 1843 and gathered to Nauvoo, Illinois, in time to join the trek across Iowa to Council Bluffs. In 1850, they were living in Platte County, Missouri, but in 1852 migrated to the Salt Lake Valley.

After surviving all that, Sarah died in 1863 from the bite of a black widow spider. I yearn to find a picture of my Sarah, but perhaps she died too soon. We do have one of Fielding in his old age, posing with children by his next wife, Carolyn Christina Bocker (they married in 1865, in Salt Lake City). She, however, is not in the picture. By then she had divorced him, purportedly for his whiskey habit and the proverbial Langford temper. It probably also did not help that Fielding was Swedish-born Carolyn’s senior by forty-three years!

[Insert Photo #4 caption]:

Fielding Langford (1804-1882) and his children by 2nd wife, Carolyn Christina Bocker (from an old tin-type taken about 1880-82). L-R: Joseph, Fielding, Wm. Henry, Anna Caroline, Cynthia Elizabeth, and Malinda Melvina Langford.

Whatever his faults, I love and honor Fielding for having the courage and stamina to join a new and different religion, pioneer the West, and produce a clan that gave me a phenomenal Langford mother. My Fielding missed all the civil rights excitement in Kentucky, but saw plenty of his own in the form of persecution against the concentrated “Mormon” population in Nauvoo.

Find an ancestor-find yourself!

I feel inspired, learning more about my paternal-line Quakers who, as noted on the above-mentioned site, did not just wink at injustice that for many had become a way of life. They did more about it than complain or write a letter to the editor. Taking action, they slowly changed opinions and altered customs–often at significant personal cost.

I also have empathy for slaveholders who stayed, entrenched as they were, in this system. Can you imagine the psychological effect on also their legitimate children, as they saw what measures their fathers took to control slaves–some of whom quite obviously were half brothers and sisters? One study tracked child abuse among descendants of slave-holding families. It followed that children of slave owners often afflicted their own children, as they saw their fathers punish slaves, long after slavery was abolished.

Some of us don’t like learning that our ancestors were alcoholics or had slaves, much less that they bred additional “property” with them. On the other hand, knowing more about family history helps us better comprehend why we feel and act the way we do and to better guard against what may be inherited weakness.

Speaking for myself, these recent discoveries have fortified my resolve to look at my environment with less complacency–to do what I can to not only change evils in society, but also to adjust attitudes and practices I now see more clearly as part of my own personal legacy. We all might hope, as well, to build on accompanying virtues evident in every family line. God seems inclined to reveal a fair share of both the negative and positive in each of us, both to keep us humble and extend encouragement.

Right now, though, I’m especially grateful for the leveling hand of such a family tree shaker as Levi Coffin. I am also anxious to go back and learn all I can about our new-found relatives Ann and Nancy Langford. I hope that they surmounted all that their mother and stepfather suffered, and appreciated the freedom purchased for them.

I also hope that our black and mixed-blood Langfords value the good-sense practicality, creative adapting, wilderness surviving, hard-work thriftiness, gregarious sharing, leadership and spontaneous hilarity that, along with all the bad, were part of the heritage attached to the Langford name.

Magnificent Wonder!

At varying times, some branches on our family tree seem more straight and true than others. All, however, produce fruit that, unless tended well, attracts spoil and canker. We stretch to pick the best and try to ignore the bad. We find soft spots in the past, but excise them for our future, with help from the Master Chef. The result is a fresh pie so divinely aromatic, vibrantly colorful and flavorful that we who taste of it can hardly wait to prepare tables and share it.

The magnificent wonder is that our Father in Heaven, in His great love, invites us, His children all, into His vineyard to help cultivate our inheritance with faith. There each of us not only discovers vital root, but by virtue of our Lord’s tender mercies, becomes more strong, more resilient, and more trusting, as we enjoy His redeeming bounty.


Submitted to Meridian Magazine, February 18, 2006
Copyright 2006, by Sherlene Hall Bartholomew –shb 22 Feb 2006 [It was published-search for, then click on “ARCHIVE” (listed at top left of their cover page), then select the “Turning Hearts” column, where are listed many of the genealogy and family history articles I have written for Meridian.” Google has also picked up many of them, with more photos. –shb September 5th, 2006

AN AMAZING RESPONSE:  I have also posted Langford information on my blog and included the above column/article, in my notes there for Stephen, with this response from Jennifer, 26 June 2007.  Here is my response:  “Jennifer, you made my day! Thanks for your fascinating response, which I am sharing with others in our family and our Langford family researchers. Below that are some of my comments and a request: THANKS AGAIN!
—– Original Message —–
From: “Jennifer” > Comment:

“I am in shock. I am descended from the Stubbs family of Preble County, Ohio and have been researching the various lines since finding a treasure trove of artifacts in my mother’s attic after her death. Her ancestors were all Quakers involved in the Underground Railroad. I was fortunate to grow up in the house some of those ancestors built in Clinton County, Ohio.

“I came across your site while tracking down information on some “Mystery Stubbs”, so to speak. What is shocking is that my father’s side of the family are Langfords from Rockcastle County, Kentucky!! What hilarious irony! To think that my mother’s ancestors helped free slaves held by my father’s ancestors, a century before either was were ever born!

“Now, the really good stuff: amongst the treasure trove we found was a large photo album containing photographs of numerous Stubbs ancestors. Included in the album were photos of two African Americans that none of our family experts have been able to identify. My sister and I felt certain they must have been some of the slaves the Stubbs family helped to freedom at some point. You may have solved our mystery!!

“I just cannot stop laughing. Thank you so much for your wonderfully detailed information.”
(Sherlene, below):
“You are most welcome for what you found of interest on my blog. I think you will find it in more readable format (with the photos included), in my column, as published by Meridian
and picked up by Google, at:


“‘Looks like we have exactly the reverse situation, with your father the Langford who had slaves and your mother descended from their Quaker liberators–except your close connection to Jesse Stubbs is even more exciting! What are the odds for that happening to two of us? Proof is indeed positive that Heaven has an incredible sense of humor!

“I would like to 1) see those photos of the two blacks in that collection you found in the attic. Could you scan and forward those? Wouldn’t it be just too much if one of them is Craig
Langford, the slave Jesse freed?

“2) I am interested to learn how your Langford line comes down from Rockcastle Co. –could you also forward that lineage? Maybe we have information that may add to what you have (and the reverse).

“3) Is there a photo of Jesse Stubbs in that attic collection you found? And one of his wife (I’m sure she put up with a lot, while Jesse and other Quakers were liberating slaves). I’d love to add that and any other photos you think may be of interest to my files.

“Thanks, again, for sharing your feelings, background, and your exciting attic find! What fun!

“Sherlene Hall Bartholomew”  –shb 26 June 2007

DNA NOT A MATCH WITH MY LANKFORD LINE!  This was a heartbreaker, after all these months of corresponding with Stephen’s descendants as cousins and actually traveling to Mt. Vernon, Kentucky, this May, 2007 (with a contingent of ten other descendants of Walker Lankford) to attend the Stephen Langford Memorial Reunion (so sure were we that these were our blood cousins).  Jeff Davis has promoted more DNA activity among branches of Langfords and sponsored Bob Langford’s DNA sampling (I had got it earlier, at the reunion, but Sorenson Molecular takes a longer time to produce results, and Jeff wanted him to go through another source, anyway).  Jeff writes, 6 Sep 2007, as copied to Poldi Tonin, Bob Langford, Gene Lankford (descendant of Euclid, who is a match to my Langford line), and me (Sherlene Hall Bartholomew):  “Subject: Whetstone Bob’s Results are in – Now that figures, Gene is out on travel, and in comes Bob’s results.

“Poldi, Whetsone Bob is officially in your DNA Camp. Now that is going to make some VERY interesting stories for the Pulaski/Rockcastle bunch LOL.

“Bob, I would think that now you are going to need be seriously thinking about doing a marker upgrade on your DNA. At least 37 is what just about everyone in that tribe has. Some have 67 markers. You are in fact in the largest group representing.

“Sherlene, Have fun with this new twist LOL. No J2 from Stephen’s line. Your two groups appear to be just merely coexisting in the same area. Now there is something still incredibly useful out of this. If your line is J2, you can stop trying to tie it into Stephen LOL.

“Gene, See what happens when you go out of town only 1 time per year. WOW.

Jeff Davis
A Davis & Langford Family Research Historian
Currently on a Langford Genealogy Crusade until January 1, 2008.
The Langford/Lankford Genealogy Web Page <;

“She is insane, of course. The family history has become a mania for her.” [He would apply this to a female–shb]
Hercule Poirot
“Truth and reason are eternal. They have prevailed. And they will
eternally prevail; however, in times and places they may be overborne
for a while by violence, military, civil, or ecclesiastical.”
–Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson, 1810

I have Roots! ‘Just got this a few minutes ago. Now I know that I wasn’t hatched under a rock somewhere.  It’s a nice feeling to know that you’re not alone in this old world, that you have roots, that you’re a part of something bigger than yourself, that you’re connected to a vast network of family. This is great.

“The sad thing about this is that I don’t know any of these people.  Somebody help me out here.

“Whetstone Bob”  [Here’s the letter he got]:

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: <> < <>>
Date: Sep 6, 2007 7:40 PM
Subject: Family Tree DNA Y-DNA12 Test Match 12 for 12
To: <>

“An exact 12 marker match has been found between you and another person in the Family Tree DNA database.

“You and the other person match in all 12 loci. If you share the same surname or variant, this means that there is a 99% likelihood that you share a common ancestor in a genealogical time frame. If you match another person without the same surname or variant, you still probably share a common ancestor, but this ancestor most likely lived in the time before surnames were adopted.

“The link below will take you to your Family Tree DNA Login. From there, click on the “Y-DNA Matches” tab to see a list of your matches. Newer matches will be at the top of the list. Additional emails will be sent to you as we find new matches between you and your “genetic cousins.”


“Please remember to add your results to <;, the FTDNA-sponsored public database. Go to the Y-DNA Matches tab and you will see an explanation and a link for the upload.

“Family Tree DNA”  –shb 8 Sep 2007

[Bob sent the link to persons who match his DNA profile, but I couldn’t open it, so he later sent us the results, as follows, though it was formatted in neater columns that don’t show up in the copy-over–shb]:

“Sherlene, Shiron and Ann, Here is my list of matches. I think that John B. Langford, Jr. is the SFC John Langford that Tree Mother dedicates her website to. Jeff Davis said some of these are Harlan, Ky Langfords.  That figures since Harlan is just one County over from Laurel


“12 Marker Y-DNA (9)  Exact Matches  Name E-mail

Mr. Charles Robert Lankford Not Available <; <;

Mr. Joseph Michael <> <; <;

John B. Langford, Jr. (Y37) <> <; <;

Mr. Robert L. Langford (Y67) <> <; <;

Stephen Marion <> <; <;

Alton Glenn Langford, Jr. (Y25) <> <; <; <javascript:openGedcomWindow(‘ftGedcomView.aspx?kn=17382&type=y’);> <javascript:openGedcomWindow(‘ftGedcomView.aspx?kn=17382&type=y’);>

Michael Langford (Y37) <> <; <;

Leslie Andrew Hatcher (Y37) <> <; <;

Genetic Distance – 1  Name E-mail Corey Glen Moore

MY RESPONSE TO THIS UNWELCOME NEWS, 6 Jul 2007:  On 9/6/07, Sherlene H. Bartholomew

“It’s a good thing Gene, Judy, John, and Stan and families [descendants of Euclid Langford]came into the picture recently or I’d really feel disinherited right now (while, to paraphrase Bob, looking under rocks, to make sure I was ever borned).

“Jeff Renner, how did you know? That guy is so disgustingly smart! He suggested some time ago that my Walker probably wasn’t at all related to Mt. Vernon’s branch, regardless of the census and location proximity of Stephen2, there in Pulaski Co.  I didn’t believe him–not a whit.

“I feel like sitting down and having a good bawl, as I was so SURE I was related to all you with Mt. Vernon origins! I have stomped with you so much, I certainly FEEL like you’re blood kin. Wouldn’t you know the very day Shi comes back into the picture, I learn we’re not blood cousins, after all!

“Now you’re all gonna want back your paintings of Mt. Vernon Stephen’s original homestead. Wall, we’ll just see who’s nicest before Christmas–who, after all, can send me a painting of MY Langford ancestor’s homestead, as fair trade!

“I looked on the fact that we of Joseph’s branch got the draw to those Mt. Vernon homestead paintings at the reunion, as a sign from heaven, portending any DNA results. Was the devil laughing or WHAT????****@#$% <mailto:WHAT????****@>@&*!!! (No that isn’t a link, it just LOOKS like one, like something else that’s been going on around here.) Jeff Davis stop laughing. This is NOT funny!

“I want another sample taken. I wanna see all umpty-ump markers.  Besides, you’re all a bunch of Republicans–now there’s a SIGNIFICANT marker! Gene, if you and your clan belong to that OTHER political party, then I’m going to have to jump families. 🙂

“Wall, you Mt. Vernoners aren’t getting away that easy. There IS such a thing as adoption, want it or not. Already tied up and done (good grief, I spent at least a month, entering all of Bob’s and youze guyz information, so that seals it. So THERE!!!

“Ann, if you prove you’re related to Bob and the rest, then I’ll really be disinherited. I hardly dare look at any more DNA results. Terri, no you can’t get out of formatting those last three tips before Chris takes over again. No, no, no, no, no, no, NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now we’re not even related by marriage. Then again, look at all the family arguments we can avoid together. 🙂

“Come to think of it, the rumor on our offical DNA line is that we are only adopted Langfords, anyhow. It seems there was a surprise father in our Langford line. Heh. That DOES make my DNA Langfords a more interesting bunch (hate to stick it to the rest of you, being as you of Stephen can’t claim ANYTHING so fascinating as that. No boring Europeans, we. For all I know, I’m Arabic. Or even Italian–it’s Pavarotti and I on the high C.

“I’m going out to sit in the gutter and eat worms (to flavor eating of my humble pie in front of Jeff Renner).

“So-sure-sunk, Sherlene (sob!–don’t anybody look below at Jeff Renner’s explanation of the DNA results).”  –shb 8 Sep 2007

JEFF RENNER’S RESPONSE.  Jeff Renner, Pulaski County historian who after the Mt. Vernon Langford renunion this May showed us of Walker Langford’s descendancy where our Walker and Mary/Polly raised their large family, including our ancestor Fielding (chimney still standing–what a thrill to see this):  “I’ll admit to not following all the Langford/Lankford DNA discussions very closely. Which kits are from Walker’s line and which is Bob’s?

“Have there been at least two tests from each line? Sherlene’s joking (?) wish for more samples has much merit. Single negative results aren’t always proof of no relationship because of paternal events. To more significantly rule out any relationship there should be at least two cousins (as far distant as possible) from Walker’s line and two from Stephen’s line, and whose tests match each other. It’s always harder to prove a negative. We’ve had this happen in the Baker DNA project, <;. (For those of who don’t know, I’m the Administrator of that monster–we’re one of the larger studies and are approaching 300 tests.)

“If these results hold, I’m sorry. I was hoping there would be some connection between the two families, even though, as Sherlene noted, I had my doubts. We’ve seen similar scenarios in the Baker project quite often. For instance, there were at least four distinct branches of the Baker family in Pulaski County, KY, in the early 1800s. And it’s unreal how many different Baker lines there were in NC during the 1700s, several of which were once thought to be connected. Of course, Baker is a very common surname. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say the DNA stuff has revolutionized Baker genealogical research.

“Jeff”  –shb 8 Sep 2007

POLDI TONIN’S RESPONSE.  Poldi writes, 7 Sep 2007:  “Sherlene:  I am still having a hearty laugh over your very humorous response to the DNA test results. You do indeed have a wonderful way with words.

“The only other option was to do just what you said—sob, cry, wail, moan and groan.
The results were as surprising to our group as to you. I was sure that Whetstone would be a match to you and add to your family tree because of the proximity.

“Now we have found that A rose is a Rose is a Rose does not apply to Lfords. What a confusing bunch of ancestors we have to deal with.

“I do appreciate your good grace in the fall from on high. Hope that humble pie had chocolate ice cream on it, too.

“One note that could be of consolation to you. The J2 DNA is found in Ethiopia, too.  Maybe your family is descendants of the Queen of Sheba. That is high society or a royal lineage better than the kings of England whose families were still living in mud huts then.

“Poldi”  –shb 8 Sep 2007

SHIRON WORDSWORTH’S RESPONSE:  Shi writes, 6 Sep 2007:  ” Aw heck, Sherlene! I’ve adopted you, so who gives a flying squirrel?  No sooner had I asked you about Bob’s spit than he sent me his results. I don’t know anyone we’re related to except I think we may be related to Sgt. John, the gentleman that the Tree Mother dedicates her emails to. But what does that tell me?

“I got lost somewhere in the Haplotites. Or was it the Hittites? Frankly I liked that match with Barbados. Recently I’ve wanted to be related to the Langfords who owned those three plantations in Antiqua, but I guess dreaming of Barbados ain’t half bad.

“You most certainly don’t have to send the painting back. For crying out loud in the morning. I’m up to my armpits in varmits, moths, and skeeters. I’ve had more days of rain than it took to float Noah. [I hated to delete this part for privacy reasons, but let us just say Shi had her usual way of laughing away life’s problems and making me laugh with her–shb] . . . with all this drama…  You think I’ve got time to worry about some painting you got as a fair give away? Not me! Huh-uh! Keep it with my blessing. I’m just glad you were there to be with us.

“Yes, Jeff Renner is way too smart. I say we just surrender and agree with him that Nancy’s daddy was Ylverton Peyton and have done with it. He understands quantum physics for crying out loud. He only tolerates my ignorance, I’m sure.

“Family is a matter of the heart, girlfriend, not the gene pool. You’re family. My heart says so.  Besides…I didn’t understand half of what I saw at Bob’s spit site. I choose to say we’re sisters.

“Rowdy”  –shb 8 Sep 2007

ANN LANGFORD’S RESPONSE.  Ann writes, 6 Sep 2007:  “Hi Sherlene,.
If I lived close by, you could cry on my shoulder. What a big shame. Like you said there is still my side of the family and I will sure let you know as soon as it comes in. There has got to be a connection somewhere!!

Bluegrass Babe”   Ann also writes, 7 Sep:  “Hi Bob, Sherlene, Shiron, After working with Jeff on my g grandfather Benjamin and what I found on Terry’s documentation of a Benjamin born in 1830 same year as mine, Jeff says he is pretty sure that my line is from the John B. Langford’s. I cannot say for sure until the results come in Sherlene, we just can’t leave you out!!!! We will adopt you if necessary.”  –shb 8 Sep 2007

JEFF DAVIS RESPONSE TELLS ABOUT MORE LANGFORD DNA RESULTS.  Letter from Jeff, 7 Sep 2007:  “Dear Bob, Sherlene and Jeff Renner,

“Sherlene, my LOL I posted earlier was with you not at you [I assured him I was joking, and as it turns out, he knew it–shb.]  It is frustrating to say the least I know when you amass a lot of research on a line of ancesto’s and later learn that they are not ‘blood’ related. I know that Poldi, Rose and I have all done that and barked up the wrong tree for several years.

“Like Jeff Renner’s Baker surname, I am involved in the Davis DNA Surname project which is approaching 400 participants or there about. Common surnames are MAJORILY challenging (for me at least). I have a 67 marker submitted on me for the Davis project. I have found 3 exact 12 marker matches (which means very little as we only know that in the last 24 generations we share a common ancestor LOL).

“Sherlene and Bob, I think you see why I am such a poster boy and always spouting off DNA testing constantly. $99 is an EXTREMELY small price to learn about some VERY important facts in genealogy. If you have more L-ford Surname bearing men laying around in the Pulaski/Rockcastle, KY area, get em onboard into the program. You better believe the more there are the better the facts can be. Gene is diligently working with me on my line as I have a genetic mutation in one of Benjamin D. Lankford’s descendants. That one is causing me to round up even more cousins far and wide if I can to isolate this mutation. This is not an NPE [I think that stands for a non-parental-entity, as exists in my Langford line–shb], just and honest to goodness mutation that unfortunately happens right at the important time of my L-fords.

“At any rate, don’t be bummed, disappointed or sad everyone. This is a GOOD thing genealogically speaking. You two groups have been blessed to learn a VERY important fact that will actually help both lines in researching. Keep on rounding those cousins up though as Jeff Renner suggested. That is great advice.

“Sherlene, Ann Langford’s cousin’s result’s should be back in about 2 weeks or so. Her pool of available lines just got a little bit more interesting now though.

“Here is some interesting food for thought for all of you about L-ford’s and KY though. For those of you that don’t know, my KY L-ford line is in Butler/Ohio/Warren County area. There is also another L-ford contingent that came up through Butler County, KY from Smith County, TN that are totally separate. We also have Sherlene’s group in Pulaski/Rockcastle, KY area. Now with Bob’s recent result, there is a new and interesting element. Bob apparently has good documentation going back to the eldest Stephen Lankford. Bob’s DNA now matches the group that contains the DNA from the late John B. Langford, Jr. of the Harlan County, KY bunch [which Bob says makes sense, since it’s just over the border from Laurel County–shb].  So, Bob, don’t lose track of those Harlan County, KY L-ford know for sure.

“Sorry for the continuing babble. Gene Lankford is gonna fall over on this one.”  –shb 8 Sep 2007

RESPONSE FROM JEFF TO BARRY WOOD’S ASKING MORE ABOUT WHAT THESE DNA RESULTS MEAN.  Jeff writes, 7 Sep 2007:  “Sherlene and Barry, A very interesting turn of events with Bob’s DNA indeed. There seriously is a positive thing here. If you have had extreme difficulty trying to tie Walker’s folks into Stephen, here is one item (and a big one) now to help not support that. The DNA is re-checked again after a sampling to ensure
the scientific results are accurate.

“There are some Smith County, TN Lankford’s that had a migratory splinter line come into Butler County, KY. This group lived less than 2 miles away from my L-fords at one particular moment in time. I was VERY lucky with traditional research to learn these folks are NOT in my line. Without 2 or 3 critical TN documents, I may never have been able to disprove this connection and I am not aware of any active DNA participant’s or researchers
on the Langford Research List either.

“I am a bit envious of Bob now with him matching up into Poldi Tonin’s line.  It is a wonderful line and Poldi is hands down our L-ford research Matriarch of today. That group also has the late researcher, SFC John B. Langford, Jr. as well. Judy Langford (who was the initial Langford/Lankford DNA Coordinator is also in this group as well). We all thought I would tie into that line as well, but nope. Poldi and I have some Colonial L-fords that
pull some geographical closeness like Bob and Sherlene’s folk too.

“Standing all along is my line with my known uncle and cousin’s DNA (and one Timothy Neal Langford that no one can find….arrgggghhh).


“Jeff”  –shb 8 Sep 2007

SUMMATION OF THREE KNOWN LANGFORD KENTUCKY LINES, AS DISTINGUISHED BY DNA MATCHING.  E-letter from Jeff Davis, in response to a question from Judy (Bob) Langford, 8 Sep 2007:  “Dear L-fords, I know Judy raised this question and it was a good one. For those of you that are interested, there are currently 3 known DNA “groupings” in Kentucky. There could be more found later, but these are the 3 currently known by me:

1. Jeff Davis’ L-fords (Haplo R1b1 Subset 4): My Langford’s came to their area by Benjamin D. Lankford, the War of 1812 Veteran from Warren County, North Carolina who was born 1795. He is one of two sons of John Langford and Martha “Patsey” Duke. My group primarily stayed in the Kentucky counties of Warren, Butler and Ohio. The two main migrations after this stop were White County, Illinois and Stoddard County, Missouri. There are currently 4 DNA participants in this group. One of them is my uncle and two of them are distant cousins. The fourth is a Timothy Neal Langford that I have been unable to contact. There is a separate line that came out of Smith County, Tennessee and settled in Butler County, KY as well, but I have found no connection to this group as of yet.

2. Sherlene Bartholomew’s L-fords (Haplo J2): Her group is focused around Walker Langford and Joseph Langford before him. They are primarily found in the Kentucky counties of Rockcastle and Pulaski. Many believed (myself included) that this group was related to the Stephen L-ford group when in fact we now know that they were not. I believe that this group has 1 DNA Participant. They have many cousins all working together on this branch for sure.

3. Whetstone Bob and SFC John B. Langford, Jr.’s L-fords (Haplo R1b1 Subset 1): With the new DNA connection of Bob to the largest DNA group (10 participants), many interesting possibilities are now possible. However of importance to Kentucky, Bob’s L-ford’s descend from Stephen Lankford. His group is also found in the Kentucky counties of Rockcastle and Pulaski. Of interest now though is SFC John B. Langford, Jr.’s L-fords were centered around Harlan County, Kentucky. Hopefully, someone will work in the branch connection between the Harlan County group and the Rockcastle/Pulaski group that share this newly found connected DNA.

“If anyone has anything to add or correct, please feel free, but this appears to be the basic researcher foundation of the 3 groups.”  –shb 8 Sep 2007

JEFF RENNER, ON DNA RESULTS.  E-note from Jeff Renner, 27 Nov 2007, after I sent him what I knew of that had been gathered on Langford DNA and how we doing research lineup with the various footprints:  “Thanks, Sherlene. I’m very interested in those tests with North and South Carolina connections in the yellow group with Mt. Vernon Stephen: 98699, 20540, 4789. Especially the one with Rutherford County ties, 98699.

“Researchers of the Singleton family, which Stephen supposedly married into, say Richard (who was Stephen’s brother-in-law) moved to Rutherford County, NC, before the Revolution.

“#N38601 is also very interesting, as that fellow died in Alabama. It’s my theory that the Rockcastle Langfords are fairly closely related to the Langfords from northern AL, and that when Benjamin left Kentucky, after the mess with Nancy, he went down there. Did that test come from the Huntsville, AL, or nearby area?

“Anything anyone can add would be welcomed.  Thanks, Jeff”  –shb 27 Nov 2007

MT. VERNON STEPHEN PROBABLY NOT “PITT BEN’S SON”:  Letter I wrote all Langfords on my list, 10 Mar 2007:  “Dear Langfords, Today Shi Wordsworth forwarded a scan of the signature sent her by Jeff Renner, of the Stephen who settled Mt. Vernon (see below) [now attached to Stephen’s media file].

“In Shi’s words: ‘Ain’t that a beauty! Is that not absolutely gorgeous!! That’s no Dan’l Boone ‘cilled a bar’ signature.’

“Notice that he spells his surname with a “g,” while the Stephen who is Pitt Ben’s son spells it with a “k” (see, as attached). (This difference in spelling of the name is not absolutely important, as some early settlers signed their name with different spellings–even within the same document! The notion that there is such a thing as a ‘correct’ way to spell a name or word developed later.)

“However, I’m impressed enough that I went back and changed my spelling of Mt. Vernon Stephen’s name, in my database, to ‘Langford.’  Shi did not send along a date or reference to go with this signature, but it does not look to me like the signature of an aged man, with crippled hands.

“I was not so delighted when I compared the above signature of Mt. Vernon Stephen with the signature I had of Stephen, son of Benjamin Lankford, of Pittsylvania County, VA, as attached. (This attached signature belongs to Stephen, son of the Benjamin–we call him “Pitt Ben”), who served in Virginia’s General Assembly. We hoped Pitt Ben’s son might be the same Stephen who settled Mt. Vernon.

“I have anxiously waited for the chance to compare the two signatures, hoping to thereby find good evidence of Mt. Vernon Stephen’s parentage. Of course I was also hoping that this might lead toward finding out how Joseph and my Walker fit into the picture.

“The document I have, with Pitt Ben’s son Stephen’s signature on it, is the marriage bond of Pitt Ben’s daughter and Stephen’s sister, “Caty Lankford” and John Turner, dated 19 July 1802. A photocopy of this bond was graciously mailed to me by Terry Smith, who asked a friend doing research in Pittsylvania County to also copy out Langford documents–even though Terry is not a Langford herself, except by marriage into Langfords by one of her Damrons.

“The photocopy sent me has (next to Caty’s bond document) a note, written sideways, that has a more clear signature of Pitt Ben’s son Stephen, though it is obviously the same one signed to the bottom of the bond.

“This sideways note has the mark of ‘Kittey Lankford’ (seal) and reads:

“‘Sir [?–shb] you Are desired to grant a Marriage Licence Between John Turner and
my self both of this County Certifide under my hand and seal this 16th Day of July 1802.
Stephen Lankford [this is the signature I scanned, as attached–shb]
John Ward jr.’

“In his signature at the bottom of the bond, Pitt Ben’s son left an ‘e out, spelling his name ‘Stephn Lankford.’ Otherwise, the letters are formed the same–it’s clear to me, both by context and script, both signatures on this photocopied page are one and the same.

“This marriage bond includes those interesting words ‘ . . . whereas there is a Marriage depending and by the permission of God suddenly intended to be had and Solemnized between the above Bound John Turner, Caty Lankford . . . .’

(Reference: “An Intimate History of the American Revolution in Pittsylvania Co.,
Virginia,” p. 194.)

“In my opinion, the signatures for Mt. Vernon Stephen and Pitt Ben’s son, Stephen, are different enough that even were one written by a young man and the other by one much more elderly, they still could not be the signature of the same man. (By the way, according to my record, the attached signature of Pitt Ben’s son was written when Mt. Vernon Stephen would have been about age fifty-four, were it the same person.)

“Shi writes, of the two signatures: ‘It doesn’t match the Pitt signature, but I’m not sure that means anything. It may or it may not. I have reason to believe that Pitt Ben had a brother named Stephen, but I haven’t been able to follow up on that.’

“I fear my cherished hope in this has bit the dust. On a better day, maybe I’ll take comfort
in what I taught my students–that a genealogy search that yields nothing is still something,
if logged and shared, so that someone else doesn’t have to repeat the effort.

“What do you other Langfords think, on comparing these two signatures?

“Sherlene”  –shb 10 Mar 2007

RESPONSE FROM BARRY WOOD, WHOSE WIFE VIRGINIA IS A LANGFORD:  E-letter from Barry D. Wood, 11 Mar 2007:  “Sherlene — I agree that the signatures are so different that they could not have been penned by the same hand. Curiously enough, the man with the better penmanship was evidently the frontiersman, Rockcastle Stephen, whereas his kinsman presumably raised in more affluent circumstances (son of the Sheriff & Assemblyman Ptt Ben and all that) had a somewhat rougher writing style.

“The demonstration that Rockcastle Stephen was not the Sheriff’s heir is is no cause for chagrin, in my book. What we’re all after is the Truth, and now we’re an inch closer to it.

“The mere fact that Pitt Ben’s son was still physically IN Virginia in 1802, when Caty/Kitty was “suddenly” to be married, should have provided us with something of a clue that Rockcastle Stephen was not the same person as Pitt Ben’s son. I’ll bet that the tax lists for the period would show both men being taxed separately at the same times in two different places.

“I’m wondering whether maybe it’s appropriate to go dust off your Mom’s original theory that Rockcastle Stephen was an older son of Joseph Lankford/Langford. I’m busy getting ready for the choir to show up at our house in half an hour, so I don’t have the time to dust off my notes and contemplate our various traces of Rockcastle Stephen. But in terms of age, going with the “circa 1748” birth year implied by your comment, there’s still room for that relationship in my book, as we know that Joseph Langford was of age about that time. (i.e., that’s about when he and Benjamin got sued together in Caroline County, Va.)

“Alternatively, Rockcastle Stephen and (Pitt) Benjamin Langford y could have been brothers. (I think this was Martha Green’s view, but I’m not sure because there was also that Stephen Langford in South Carolina who has been identified by some at least as Pitt Ben’s brother….)

“Barry”   –shb 11 Mar 2007


FATHER PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, VIRGINIA BENJAMIN, SON OF NICHOLAS? From e-letter to shb from Shiron Wordsworth, 13 Apr 2006: “I still think it’s possible that Rockcastle’s Stephen is the son of Pitt Ben. The Virginia pattern of naming a firstborn son for a paternal grandfather fits Rockcastle’s Langfords: Pitt Ben had Rockcastle Stephen. Rockcastle Stephen had (North Carolina?) Benjamin. NC Benjamin had Pulaski Stephen. Pulaski Stephen had Pulaski Benjamin-and on and on, forevermore.” –shb 14 Apr 2006 [Note: E-letter from John Robert or “Bob” Langford to shb, 19 Jun 2006: “We believe the father [of] “the first Stephen to venture into Kentucky” was Benjamin of Pittsylvania County, Virginia,the county’s first Sheriff, but that relationship hasn’t been proven yet.” Same day, as part of his lineage, he includes this note: “I believe Stephen’s father was Benjamin of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, son of Nicholas (but not proven-gets a little murky back that far). –shb 19 Jun 2006

BENJAMIN’S WILL OBTAINED AND TRANSCRIBED. Shiron Wordsworth ordered Benjamin’s will from Pittsylvania, transcribed it, and forwarded it to shb, 14 July 2006, as follows. See, also, Shi’s analysis, below the will. At first we thought she was transcribing from beautiful script in Ben’s own hand, but a comparison of the handwriting with other wills in the book convinced Shi that the copy she got was a rewriting by some clerk, from the original, into the court record:


“In the name of God amen I Benjamin Lankford of Pittsylvania County in the state of Virginia being very sick and weak in body, but of sound mind and memory I do make and ordain this to by my Last will and Testament in words and manner following and first I do desire that all my Just and Lawful debts may be honestly paid by my executors hereafter named and secondly Too give unto my son Benjamin Lankford all and Singular the tract of Land whereon I now live containing upwards of five hundred acres and fourthly I desire that all the rest of my estate be equally divided between my son Benjamin Lankford & Stephen Lankford and my Daughters Mary Todd, Anne Madison, Sarah Brown, Kitty Turner and Henrietta Lankford or their representatives and I do appoint John Turner and my son Stephen Lankford Executors of this my last Will and Testament. In Witnefs whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this sixth day of September 1805

“Signed Sealed & acknowleged Ben Lankford (seal)

“At a Court held for Pittsylvania County at the Courthouse the 17th day of September 1810 A Writing purporting to be the last Will & Testament of Benjamin Lankford was presented in Court and it appearing to the Court from the Testimony of William Tunstall, John White & others that the said Will is wholly in the handwriting of the said Lankford order that the same be recorded. And on the motion of John Turner one of the executors therein named who made oath thereto according to Law, and with Richard Johnson, Edward Douglafs, Stephen C. McDaniel, Henry Arnold, and John Farris his Securities entered into and [?] their bond in the penalty of Ten Thousand Dollars Conditioned as the Law directs Certificate is granted him for obtaining probate of said Will in due form liberty being reserved to the other executors in the said will named to join therein when they shall think it.

“Teste Will Tunstall [?]”

This will is recorded in the Deeds and Wills Book 11, Page 351

Transcribed by Shiron Wordsworth from a certified copy dated 11th July 2006
Certified by Suzanne Moore, Deputy of the Circuit Court, County of Pittsylvania, VA -shb 14 July 2006 [Note: Is the John Farris mentioned in the last paragraph, above, Johnson Farris (often referred to in records as “John”) the husband of Jenny/Jean Lankford, daughter of my ancestors Joseph and Mary Lankford? Per e-note from Shi, 13 July 2006, that is going to be hard to prove-shb.]

Shi’s analysis of the will, forwarded to shb 14 July 2006:

“Here’s for certain what we have learned from the will of Benjamin Lankford of Pittsylvania County, Virginia:

“1. Benjamin Lankford of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, had a son named Stephen listed as one of the executors in his will.

“2. Benjamin did not bequeath to his son, Stephen, any land, but then if Rockcastle Stephen were Benjamin’s son, why would that be necessary or even an equitable settlemant if Stephen already had 13,000 acres of Kentucky land and was no longer a resident of Pittsylvania County, Virginia? Particularlay would this be true if the inheriting son named Benjamin were not as land wealthy as his brother, Stephen, and was, in fact, still a resident of Pittsylvania at the time of their father’s death, and, therefore, perhaps a more reasonable candidate to inherit his father’s land.

“3. Benjamin trusted Stephen to be one of the executors of his will irregardless of the fact that Stephen did not stand to inherit any of Pittsylvania Benjamin’s land.

“4. A couple of names common to Rockcastle and Pulaski are mentioned in the will, namely Turner and Farris.

“5. Ben’s will was written in 1805. Stephen Langford of Kentucky was alive at the time this will was written, so Stephen Langford of Kentucky remains a viable candidate as Benjamin’s son. Since there is no known record of a Stephen Lankford or Langford in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, in 1805 (or no known record that has surfaced at this time), Kentucky Stephen remains a person of interest with regard to a relationship with Benjamin Lankford of Virginia.

“Here’s what we don’t know of a certainty, yet:

“Is the Stephen mentioned in the will of Benjamin Lankford of Virginia ‘our’ Kentucky Stephen? No mention of Stephen’s residence is made in the will. So the will does not provide a certain link between Kentucky Stephen and Pittsylvania Ben. The following thoughts are, however, of interest concerning a possible relationship between Rockcastle Stephen and Pittsylvania Ben. They provide at least some of the questions that must be answered before a verified connection between the two can be made.

“1. As mentioned before, names common to both Lincoln County, Kentucky, and Pittsylvania County, Virginia, are recorded in Benjamin Lankford’s will. The name John Farris seems especially notable given that the Farris family as well as the Langford family have ties to both localities.

“2. There is an interesting naming pattern with regard to the early Kentucky Langfords. If, in fact, Kentucky Stephen is Pitt Ben’s son, he followed the Virginia folkway with regard to naming patterns in that he named a firstborn son, Benjamin, after the child’s paternal grandfather. In turn, Stephen’s son, Benjamin, followed the same Virginia pattern by naming his firstborn son Stephen, and so perpetuating the paternal grandfather’s given name. This is, at the very least, a connection, of sorts, to a custom peculiarly common to Virginia.

“3. Mary Langford Todd was living in Lincoln County, Kentucky, at the same time, as was Stephen Langford. Mary Langford Todd was Virginia Ben’s daughter. Ben also had a son named Stephen, as witnessed by the will. Are Mary Langford Todd and Stephen Langford siblings? It’s possible although not verifiable at this time. Certainly it’s coincidental that individuals with the same names as two of Benjamin Lankford’s children are living in Lincoln County, Kentucky, during the same time period. The coincidence is made more intriguing since there is no other Stephen Langford mentioned in any records that have come to light so far in either Virginia or North Carolina that would “fit” as Pitt Ben’s son other than Rockcastle’s Stephen.

“4. There is a subjective but interesting thought worth consideration concerning Stephen Langford’s Kentucky career. Stephen appears to be one of those settlers bent on amassing land and status. Benjamin Lankford of Virginia was a “Gentleman” and an “Esquire,” used to hobnobbing with the likes of Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, and Colonel John Donelson. Benjamin was Pittsylvania’s representative at the Virginia Conventions of 1775 and 1776, a representative in the House of Burgesses in 1775, and later a member of the Virginia General Assembly. The subjective question here is this. Is it possible that Stephen’s own ambitions stem from the fact that he was raised by a father such as Benjamin Lankford of Virginia? Yes, it is possible, but it’s also a possibility that is impossible to verify historically. Nevertheless, this is an interesting ‘subjective.’

“5. In other accounts from Virginia records, Benjamin Lankford of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, acknowledged having had a son named Thomas. Thomas Lankford of Pittsylvania County, VA, was murdered on the Wilderness Road 12 December 1798. According to Otto A. Rothert in The Outlaws of Cave-in-Rock, this Thomas Langford had money in the amount of 500 pounds in his possession at the time of his murder. He was traveling in Kentucky, with a view toward visiting relatives in the area and possibly relocating. If the murdered Thomas were also Benjamin’s son, Thomas, then he was considering “relocating” in the same vicinity where Mary Todd and Stephen Langford were residing at the time. Thus, in 1798, there are three individuals bearing the same names as three of the children of Pittsylvania Benjamin, and all three are mentioned in connection with Lincoln County, Kentucky. Given the fact that Rockcastle’s Stephen was increasing his land holdings about 1797, is it possible that his brother, Thomas, was in Kentucky with the idea of either joining in Stephen’s enterprises or purchasing land near Stephen? It’s a consideration worth exploring at the very least.

“6. There has always been a question as to whether the Rockcastle Langfords were from Virginia or from North Carolina. I suspect that the answer may be, in fact, that they had ties to both states.One question emerges with regard to the Stephen Langford of Rutherford County, North Carolina, whose lands were confiscated in 1781, as a result of his service with Major Ferguson, British commander at the Battle of King’s Mountain. Is the North Carolina Stephen the same individual who was the son of Benjamin Lankford of Virginia? I think it’s possible. The following things make me think that this might be so:

“* I came across information recently that several Lankford brothers of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, migrated to what would become Rutherford County, NC. While Stephen’s name is not listed as one of these Langfords, a Ben Langford is. Is it possible that this Ben Langford is the brother to Stephen Langford, and the same Ben who inherited Pitt Ben’s land? Is it possible that both brothers relocated to Rutherford for a time? It’s a coincidental possibility, one that is, however, without verification to date, but also a coincidence worth serious examination.

“*Certainly there was a Stephen Langford in Rutherford County, North Carolina. That’s historical fact and a matter of the Rutherford County, NC, court records. So far, no records in Pittsylvania indicate that Benjamin’s son, Stephen, was residing in Pittsylvania, or anywhere in Virginia, for that matter, at the same time that a Stephen Langford resided in Rutherford County, NC. No other Stephen Langford has emerged to date that is of an age to be Pittsylvania Ben’s son except for the Rutherford County Stephen. While this is not proof that North Carolina Stephen and Benjamin’s Stephen are one and the same, it is suggestive of a possible link between the two particularly given the information that Langfords from Pittsylvania migrated to Rutherford.

“*Tory Stephen’s NC lands were confiscated in 1781. I found mention that some of these convicted Tories migrated to Kentucky. The first mention of Stephen in Kentucky is in 1782. These dates seem to “fit” the historical events that occurred in Rutherford County, NC. Then, too, there’s the Rutherford County, NC, gentleman named William Twitty who acknowleged a Power of Attorney to Stephen Langford for the recovery of lands in Kentucky settlement. (As per Betty Price’s research posted 4 December 1998, at If her research is credible and verifiable, it links Kentucky Stephen with Rutherford County, North Carolina Stephen, even if only by inference. Coincidentally, Kentucky Stephen is living in Lincoln County, Kentucky, as is Mary Langford Todd, Pitt Ben’s daughter. He is also residing there concurrently with Joseph Langford of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, commonly acknowledged as the brother to Benjamin Lankford of Pittsylvania County, Virginia. Add to these facts the supposition that Thomas Langford of Virginia was in Kentucky, according to Rothert, to visit relatives and possibly relocate, and you are faced with a convergence of names common to both North Carolina and Virginia: Stephen Langford, Joseph Langford, Mary Langford Todd, and Thomas Langford.

“*Another possible link between Kentucky Stephen and Rutherford County Stephen is Betty Price’s research that says that the North Carolina Stephen was first married to the sister of Major Richard Singleton of Rutherford County, NC, the same Richard Singleton who died in Lincoln County, according to Price, in 1800. There remained a connection between the Rockcastle Langfords and the Rockcastle Singletons by means of marriage that stretched all the way into the 20th century. Kentucky Explorer Magazine (Volume 19, Number 4 – September 2004, p. 108) published a photo taken in 1941, on Singleton Mountain in Rockcastle County. One of the young men pictured is Tip Langford Singleton. Tip Langford was sheriff of Rockcastle County in the 1920s. His sister, Dona Langford married Monroe Singleton. Does this Langford – Singleton connection stretch as far back as Rutherford County, North Carolina, in the 1780s? It’s possible. At the very least, it’s an interesting coincidence.

“All of the above is merely suggestive that Stephen Langford of Rockcastle County, Kentucky, might well be the Tory Stephen of Rutherford County, North Carolina, and also the son of Benjamin Lankford of Pittsylvania County, Virginia. All of these assumed connections need proof. If, however, they should prove to be not merely historical asumptions but facts verifiable by record, the question as to the origin of Rockcastle County Langfords, whether North Carolina or Virginia, would be finally answered. The answer would be yes, on both counts.” -shb 15 July 2006

My letter to Lankford family researchers on my list, 16 July 2006:

“Dear Lankford researchers:

“I got looking at Stephen, son of Pitt[sylvania Co. VA) Ben, as entered in my files, and see that my mother, Ida-Rose L. Hall, had him as married to Elizabeth Harris on 21 Dec 1816. For one second there, I thought we’d found the first wife before Lois Mullins.

“If this Eliz. Harris marriage actually applies to Stephen, son of Pitt Ben, then it would be problematic for him to be the same Stephen who settled Mt. Vernon, as Mt. Vernon Stephen died in 1811.

“Quoting from Mom’s Fielding Langford Book, p. 61:

“From the deeds and wills of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, Book #1, page 351, Will of BENJAMIN LANKFORD, proved September 17, 1810: “Sons BENJAMIN and STEPHEN LANKFORD, daughter MARY TODD, widow of RICHARD TODD, ANNE MADISON, SARAH BROWN, KITTY TURNER, HENRIETTA LANKFORD.” [Shiron Wordsworth just forwarded her transcription of the entire will.] I then found the following marriages for these children:

“Mary m. 19 September 1780 Richard Todd
Anne m. Ambrose Madison 1787
Katy m. John Turner 1802
Thomas Lankford m. 22 October 1806 Elizabeth Mitchell
Stephen m. 21 December 1816 Elizabeth Harris

“‘Mary Todd was widowed by the Indian Wars and went to Kentucky to live with her husband’s brother who was a prominent judge in Kentucky. Notice the similarity of the names of Benjamin’s children (Benjamin and Stephen) to the names in the marriages and tax lists in Kentucky. Were they the same individuals? I thought so until I found the marriages of the children of Benjamin Langford of Pittsylvania County, Virginia. The children of Joseph Langford (his supposed children, that is) were getting married about the same time as the children of Benjamin Lankford over in Pittsylvania. I wonder if it is possible that West Langford, Joseph Langford and Benjamin Langford were brothers. Incidentally, Benjamin Langford, who married Nancy Peyton in Lincoln County, Kentucky, named one of his sons Stephen.’

“I want to find the m. reference for Stephen to Eliz. Harris to see if there is mention of this Stephen’s father, as looking at the range of marriage dates for Pitt Ben’s children, it seems possible that this Stephen could be of a subsequent generation, if we could find an earlier son for Pitt Ben. Anybody have that marriage reference?

“Sherlene” -shb 16 July 2006 [Note: In subsequent correspondence, Shi Wordsworth expressed her opinion that the Stephen who married Elizabeth Harris was probably a grandson of Virginia Assemblyman Benjamin Lankford-shb.]


September 5, 2006 - Posted by | Genealogy, Kentucky Langfords, North Carolina Langfords, Virginia Langfords


  1. I read through this. My grandmother is still alive and 95. her great grandfather was stephen langford. She is of this family. She often talks about mt. vernon. Please contact me if possible. I may be able to help. She often talks of the big house on rockcastle river that was built and torn down. This is not the original langford home in Mt. Vernon. It was a mansion right by the river she said. She recalls it as a small child. It was owned by her grandfather Jonathon Langford. Stephen was his father. My grandmothers father’s name was Emmett. Loved reading this. She often talked about how they owned 1 or 2 territories that encompassed the cumberland gap.
    look forward to hearing from you. dated June 26, 2007

    Comment by julie goodwin | June 27, 2007 | Reply

  2. Dear Julie,

    I have been researching Pleasant S. Langford son of Stephen and Lydia Langford.

    I read a comment you wrote, and your last name jumped out at me! My Grandmother was Mary (Mullen) Palmer. Her sister was Lottie (Mullen) Goodwin. Are you related to the Tempe, Arizona Goodwins??

    Comment by Mary (Palmer) Wait | October 19, 2008 | Reply

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