Saturday, October 16, 2010

Allender Case Update

I finally beat that clever and often evil opponent procrastination by travelling north a few weeks ago to take a closer look at the Connelly Cemetery which I mentioned in my previous post: The Allender Case. I described the location of the cemetery in northeastern Pendleton County as being just within the entrance to Thomas Road up near the town of Mount Auburn. All of this was remembered correctly as we drove right to the cemetery with no trouble.

The cemetery has very easy access when the weeds are down. This time of the year, conditions are prime for exploration. The cemetery is behind a fence, but the fence is along side of the road and does not encircle the stones. The beginning of the fence is pretty even with the beginning of the cemetery, so you can walk around the beginning of the fence, right into the grouping. The trees along the fence obscure the cemetery fairly well from the road, but if you drive slow, and watch for the beginning of the fence on the right-hand side, you should find it relatively easily. The picture below is how the cemetery looks as you come around the fence and head toward the stones.
So, what did we find as we explored? Sadly, we found only one stone fully intact, and it did not belong to a Connelly at all. The stone below is the most prominent stone and the one you can just barely see from the road if you look closely. It belongs to Martha Hart - and I have no idea how she fits into this family.
The other some fragments did answer some of our questions. The two subsequent pictures are of Enola and Elizabeth's stones. As you can see, they have become very hard to read, and will soon be illegible.

The only other stone in the group was that of Margaret Connelly. She was quite a surprise as I later learned she was Thompson (Tobe) Connelly's mother, whose maiden name was Bonar - a very prevalent name in Pendleton County. Her stone, as seen below, was also fragmented, but the bottom half did give the accurate information for her, and was quite handy in making a match.

I did not find Thompson Connelly in this cemetery as the family lore had stated. Not only had Pearl Allender's note said all three were buried there, but the Barton Papers also repeated the same information. Of course, the Barton Papers are interviews of local people, so the same story could have been spread among the Allender clan. I would like to go back and take a look at the Connelly section of those papers to see what oral tradition existed among that family unit.

I would also like to go back and do a full exploratory analysis of the cemetery site. Based on the fact that there are two clumps of trees together in this level part of the field that have never been plowed, I suspect that the cemetery is rather large, with many stones broken off and resting just under the soil surface. Of course, that would involve talking to the land owners prior to heading to their cemetery with shovels. As a reminder, I don't necessarily need permission to explore like that as the family buried there is technically related to me, and under Kentucky law, the family has a right to enter and maintain the space. However, the people of Pendleton County are a very nice bunch, and it would be a more rewarding experience if the locals were involved and informed ahead of time.

I went ahead and added this cemetery to FindaGrave earlier today. I also stumbled upon Thompson Connelly's gravestone in Illinois. I am pretty certain this is the same guy based on the birth date, other research entries and census records from Pendleton County, so I added the photo of him to the FindaGrave entry in the hopes that the family he created with his second wife will find him and get back in touch.

Based on the sad condition of the cemetery I am very glad we took a trip up there this year. At least what is left has been recorded. It will not be long before they fade away along with the others.

CD 10/16/10



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