Friday, May 24, 2013

Kentucky ~ Looking for a Crack in the Brick Wall

As I noted in my recent Surname Saturday post about the Ashby line, I didn't know much about my third great-grandparents, Stephen Ashby (about 1805 - May 1829) and Pamela (Permelia) Christian (dates unknown) until I found The Ashby Book, Vol. 1: Descendants of Captain Thomas Ashby of Virginia by Lee Fleming Reese, published in 1976.

As I noted, this book shares transcriptions of several court records from the 1830's which list the children of Stephen Ashby, Jr. and his widow, Pamelia Ashby: Malinda Ashby, Benjamin C. Ashby, Napoleon B. Ashby, and Daniel M. Ashby. These four children were born in the 1820's (between the marriage of Stephen and Pamelia in 1820 and his death in May 1829).

In one court record there is reference that "his widow Pamelia has intermarried with James Hall."

With this information, I explored census records on to see what else I could find out about my third great-grandmother, Pamela / Pamelia / Permelia, and her family.

In 1830, there is an Amelia Ashby with children of approximately the correct age, as well as four slaves (as indicated in one of the court records) living in Hopkins County, Kentucky. This might be the widow Permelia Ashby, but I can't be sure. There is a James Hall in Barren County, Kentucky in 1830, with a household of one adult male the right age for James (40-50), five other whites (his children?) between ages 5-20, and seven slaves.


In 1840, I found Jas. Hall in Barren County, Kentucky.

1840 US Federal Census, Barren County, Kentucky;
Page 167, Line 5. Record for Jas. Hall

I know this doesn't look like much but I am able to make logical guesses to match up most of the names with the marks on this census:
One boy younger than five is Christian Hall (see 1850 census record)
One boy between the ages of 10-15 is Daniel Morgan Ashby (my second great-grandfather)
Two teen boys between the ages of 15-20 are Napoleon Ashby and Benjamin Ashby
Two young men between the ages of 20-30 are perhaps Hall children from an earlier marriage
One man between the ages of 50-60 is James Hall
One girl between the ages of 5-9 is perhaps Jane Hall (see 1850 census record)
One girl between the ages of 15-20 is Malinda Ashby
One woman between the ages of 30-40 is Permelia (Christian) (Ashby) Hall

The next page of this record indicates that the household also includes three slaves.


By 1850, we get to see all the names in a census record.

1850 US Federal Census, Division 1, Barren County, Kentucky;
Page 317B, Lines 34-41. James Hall household.

James Hall, at 67, is 19 years older than Permela, who is 48. (I now have an estimated birth year of 1802 for her and 1783 for him.) He is a farmer, with property worth $1,300 and was born in Pennsylvania; she and the children, all of whom attended school, were born in Kentucky. The oldest child is named Christian, which is her maiden name. He was born about 1835. The other two children are Jane, born about 1837, and Henry C., born about 1841.

Interestingly, the household also includes a Black, Cilla Bowles, and two Mulattoes, Joseph and Hetty Bowles. For them to be listed as part of the household in 1850 means they were not slaves. The 1850 U.S. Census Slave Schedule for 1850 shows that James Hall owned four unnamed slaves.


In 1860, I find a household in Barren County, Kentucky, that fits for the family.

1860 US Federal Census, District 2, Barren County, Kentucky;
Page 1010; Lines 36-40. N. B. Ashby household.
N. B. Ashby, age 33, is Permelia's son (Napoleon B.) from her first marriage to Stephen Ashby. He is a 33-year-old farmer (born about 1827 in Kentucky) with $3,600 in real estate. His wife is J. C. Ashby, age 23 (born about 1837 in Virginia) and they have a nine-month-old son, Wm (William) Ashby. In the household is "Permel:" Hall, age 57 (born about 1803 in Kentucky) and H. C. Hall, age 18 (born about 1842 in Kentucky). I would venture to guess that this is Permelia (Christian) (Ashby) Hall and her youngest son, Henry C. Hall.

Permelia's son and Napoleon's brother, (my 2nd great-grandfather), Daniel Morgan Ashby was a merchant in Glasgow, Barren, Kentucky in 1860. (See Tobacco Then Insurance.)


Although I have found Daniel Morgan Ashby and Napoleon B. Ashby in Glasgow, Barren County, Kentucky, in 1870, I have not yet found their mother.


In 1880, I find Permelia Hall back in the household of Napolian B. Ashby with wife Julet C. and family in Russellville, Logan County, Kentucky. Although Permelia is listed as a Boarder in this household, I believe she is Napolian's widowed mother.

1880 US Federal Census, Russellville, Logan County, Kentucky;
E.D. 164; Page 443B; Lines 23-32. Napolian B. Ashby household.

I love what I can find in U.S. Census records.

I also love what I can find at Find A Grave. Click here to see a tombstone that is for half brothers Benjamin C. Ashby (1822 - 1848) and Gilbert C. Hall (1835 - 1850).


  1. Wow! That's a lot of information. Great sleuthing.

    1. Devon, yes, it was fun (and time-consuming) to figure this out. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  2. I will be portraying Permelia Hall in a living history program at the Stones River National Battlefield and Cemetery. Henry C. Hall, although a private in the 4th KY Confederate Mounted Infanrty, is one of several Confederate soldiers buried in this (Union) cemetery. His body had to be left on the field after his death by cannon fire on 2 January 1863. A letter written to Henry's mother by a commanding officer, Hezekiah Nuckols, is part of the collection at the archives maintained by the Battlefield. It is my priviledge to portray Permelia (Christian Ashby) Hall in this program which is appropriately named The Hallowed Ground Lantern Light Tour. Lynn Wilson

    1. This sounds extremely interesting. I'm sorry I live too far away to participate! Thank you for sharing this additional information.