I have been known to extend my family a bit. As an example: this is a story about a “shirt-tail” relative.

Hazel Norris was the Grandmother of my Brother-In-Law; my Sister’s husband. Hazel’s Great Grandfather was James Norris.

The time was August 29th, 1857. The place was “camp ground” in Mason County, Illinois. There was a tent revival nearby. Often when there were revivals happening, men who had no interest in the revival, sat up their own tents and had a “whiskey camp”. They would get drunk and act like fools. Sometimes they would fight amongst themselves.  On this night, James Preston Metzker was hit with a piece of wood as well as a slung shot (the dictionary describes this as a weight on the end of a cord or chain). The two men who were fighting with Mr. Metzker were: William “Duff” Armstrong and James Norris. That evening Mr. Metzker got on his horse and rode home. During the ride, he fell off his horse several times. After his arrival home, he was checked by a Dr. who said he had a fractured head in two separate places. James Preston Metzer died two days later. Did he die from the piece of wood that was used by Mr. Norris? Did he die from the slung shot used by Mr. Armstrong? Did he die from the several falls he took from his horse, riding home?

James Norris and William Armstrong were both charged with murder. The men would be tried separately. The first trial was against James Norris. In October, 1857 James was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to eight years in the Joliet penitentiary.

The second trial, for William Armstrong was not as swift. His father died while he awaited trial. There was a well-known lawyer named Abraham Lincoln who notified the widowed mother of Mr. Armstrong that he wanted to defend her son pro bono. Years before, Lincoln had stayed with the Armstrong family. He was studying law at the time and had no money. He remembered their kindness and wished to “repay”. This trial would be on May 7th,1858 and moved to Cass County, Illinois. The trial became known as the “Almanac Trial”. There would be books, news stories and plays written about this trial. It is possible that this was Abraham Lincoln’s most famous case.

Although there were many witnesses who testified, Mr. Lincoln was only interested in one. Charles Allen testified that he saw Duff Armstrong strike Metzker with a slung shot and he could clearly see the act by the light of the full moon and he was at a distance of 150 feet. Abraham Lincoln used an almanac to show Allen lied on the stand when he claimed he had witnessed the crime in the moonlight and that the moon on that date could not have produced enough light for the witness to see anything clearly. Based on this evidence, the jury acquitted Armstrong after only one ballot.

James Norris was pardoned several years later, in 1863. He had served six years of his sentence.


Charlotte Renouf was born in 1849 and was the child of Charlotte Gatwood and Nicholas Renouf. The family relocated to Allegheny County, Pennsylvania around 1850. Charlotte Renouf married Luther Dickey and together they had six children.

I have a nugget or two to share in regard to this group. I found a newspaper story of interest:

1889-Chicago, Illinois

POISON IN THE FRUIT-Entire Family Poisoned by Raspberries

Chicago, June 21-The entire family of Luther S. Dickey, consisting of wife and six children, living on Warren Avenue, was poisoned yesterday from eating raspberries. Alice, aged nine, died this morning. The others are in serious condition. The berries were bought from street venders. Mr. Dickey, who was absent from the city at the time, was telegraphed for, and arrived home today to find his friends and family plunged in grief.


The mother, Charlotte Renoulf Dickey is my 1st cousin 3x removed. Charlotte’s husband was Luther Samuel Dickey. Everyone recovered from the poison except the nine-year old who died. It was also determined that the poison was not from the raspberries, but from butter that was tainted.

By finding this story, I was lead to more information on this family group. Newspapers are a great source of information. There are many online and in libraries. I have gotten many of my family obituaries thru interlibrary loans. Finding obituaries nearly always leads to more information!

Luther was only fifteen years old when he joined the Army and served in the Civil War for Pennsylvania. He served from September 1861 to June 1865. He was a full Corporal when he was mustered out of the service. He married Charlotte and they had six children. I have read that his wife worked very hard to “make ends meet” while Luther did little. However, I was able to find two books that Luther wrote and are still available. The books are considered to be quite good on their subject matter (History of 103rd Pennsylvania Regiment and History of 85th Pennsylvania Regiment). Luther Dickey was listed as an author at the time of his death.



Silas Duddleson was My 2x Great Uncle. He was the Child of Samuel Duddleson and Sophia Faust; my 2x great grand-parents and brother to my Great Grandmother, Martha Duddleson.

Silas was the first of the children to be born in Ohio. The others were born in Iowa. He was born in 1861. He was the fourth child, the third son.

In the 1870 census for Bloom Township, Fairfield County, Ohio; Silas was nine years old and attending school.

In the 1880 census Greencastle, Fairfield County, Ohio Silas was listed.  The record stated he was nineteen years old and had epilepsy. He was with his family.

Samuel and Sophia Duddleson; the parents of Silas, died in 1898. That same year, in the Fairfield county court house records, there was a Lunacy Inquest and Silas Duddleson was admitted to the state hospital. I have no information whether the family ever saw him again. I have wondered if he was there because of the epilepsy and they did not understand the ailment or if he was insane.

In the 1900 census, Silas was found at the Columbus State Hospital as an inmate in Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio. He was thirty-nine years old.

On January 1st, 1908 Silas died at the State Hospital. I have no further information on him. It is possible that he is buried in a cemetery on the grounds of the hospital.

This story about Silas may seem of little value, but I feel that all my ancestors deserve their stories to be told. Everyone was not a war hero or had some other “claim to fame”. When our descendants write about us, what will they find of interest? Something to think about.



Warren Albion Pace was born October 19, 1834 in Effingham County, Georgia. This man is not a blood relative of mine, but that has never kept me from a good story. My great-Aunt, Ora Odessa Whetsel (sister to my Grandma-Orella Ortega Whetsel) was married to James Goodlow Pace and Warren Albion Pace was James father.

In 1860, Warren Pace married Mary Elizabeth Drummon. They had one child, a girl named Cora. At the start of the Civil War, Warren took his wife and child to the Savannah, Georgia area to stay with his family. He joined the 7thGeorgia Confederate Calvary in May of 1862. On June 24, 1864 he was hit by a mini ball that shattered his left elbow. In September of that year, he was in Salem Church, Virginia and told to return home. They could not afford to let him take a horse, so he took off on foot to return to Savannah. He had to go through Sherman’s lines. There was nothing left when he reached his family. Everything was gone! They had no food! Mary and Cora were in poor condition.

Warren then commenced to walk about 150 miles to Hawthorne, Florida, where Mary’s family lived. He would get a mule and cart. When he returned to Savannah, he put Mary and Cora on the cart and he walked them back to her parents’ home. Cora was small and always frail for the remainder of her days, but Mary died the same week they arrived at her parents. The death record says she died from consumption, but the family said starvation. This all is so sad, but it was also a new beginning as the War had ended.

In 1866 Warren married a widow named Henrietta (Fossell) Evans and they raised a family of ten children. Warren Albion Pace died in 1932. He was one month from his ninety-eighth birthday.


My paternal Grandma, Mary Alice Delong was the fifth child born to James Thomas Delong and Martha Alice Duddleson. She entered this world on November 17, 1898. Since she was several years younger and the only girl in the family, I would assume she was a bit spoiled. The family had another girl who died just a few months before Mary was born. Mary was not a tall woman. She had lots of black, curly hair. In the 1900 census, Mary was 2 years old with her family in Bloom Township, Fairfield County Ohio. Her father was a farmer and owned his land. I don’t believe these were rich people, but they appeared to be living a comfortable life and had everything they needed. I have located a newspaper account of a paternity suit filed by Mary when she was eighteen years old. The defendant was William Aumock, Jr. He was only sixteen years old at the time. I have yet to see any further stories or documents on this subject. Nor have I found a marriage between Mary and William. I do know that the child was named Lawrence Aumock. This child was my Dad’s half-brother. When Mary and Lawrence joined the Alfred Gatwood family; Grandpa had a twelve-year old son, Tarlton. Together they soon had another boy, my Dad, James Alfred Gatwood. There were two girls born as well; Martha Belle and Alice Marie. Martha Belle died before she was two years old. Mary took her son Lawrence and her daughter Alice with her when she left her husband, son and stepson. They were divorced before the 1930 census. In that census Mary is living in Columbus, Ohio. I don’t think she ever lived on a farm again. Maybe she did not like that life. It was very hard. Even in modern times you have to work seven days a week and vacations are almost nonexistent. Mary was married for a second time to Harry Knighton. I am told that his nickname was Boots. Working on this part of my family, I found his tombstone and there it was; “Boots” at the top of the stone. At the time of her mother’s death in 1937, her name was still Knighton. I found the newspaper obituary for Martha Duddleson (Mary’s mother) that is how I knew she was still a Knighton at that time. I know the marriage ended in divorce, just not the exact date. Her third marriage was to someone with the last name Moody. I don’t remember a Grandpa with that name, but I remember this was her name until her fourth marriage to Howard Smith. She was still married to Mr. Smith at the time of her death. Unfortunately, I only have the marriage record to Alfred Gatwood and Harry Knighton as well as a few pictures. Genealogy is always a work in progress. You just keep digging to add bits of information to your work. It was not often, but I always loved to go to Grandma’s house. I got to take bubble baths and she had fancy stuff and pretty bottles of perfume. She gave us melba toast to eat with coffee that had lots of sugar and milk in it. She was a special Grandmother and the only “City Grandma” I had. She was always dressed nicely. She was active in Machinist Union District 52 AFL, past Finder Lodge 1651, retiree club of District 52, Women’s Auxiliary of Machinist 361 and a member of the board of YMCA. She was well known as a Union advocate. She had several strokes until the final one that took her life. She died on April 21, 1971 in Columbus Ohio and was buried in Green lawn cemetery.


Buffington is my mother’s birth name. I grew up knowing many cousins, aunts and uncles as well as great aunts and uncles and my mother’s cousins. So when I began my genealogy research, I was most curious about my Dad’s family, thinking I knew so much about Mom’s family.

Knowing many people who are related to you does not mean you know their history and origin. I was shocked when I started my research on this family and found my knowledge left a lot to be desired. Furthermore, the name is so common that it is very difficult to follow my Mother’s line. When you look up William Buffington, you find so many that without lots of statistics to go with the name, you are “dead in the water” so to speak. I will continue to research this family and hopefully be able to connect us to their arrival in United States.

Although I was unable to go back to the “beginning” with the Buffington line I more than made up for it with the lines that married into the Buffington’s. These are the Whetsel, Neal, Allison, Maddox and Arnot families. Every family line can be traced back to the American Revolution! When my Grandpa Buffington married my Grandma Whetsel, he made these clans into one big family. We are American through and through. We might have blood from other countries, but mostly me and my clan are Yanks from way back.


According to census records, Susan McCarty said she was born in Pennsylvania. She also said her parents were born there as well. Susan was born in February 1838. Susan McCarty was my maternal 2x Great Grandmother.

I found Susan in the 1850 census as a twelve-year-old in Scioto County, Ohio. She was living with her brother, James McCarty. I do not know her parents or their fate, fortune nor their names.

Susan McCarty was first married to Harrison Imes. They married in 1853.

In the 1860 census for Lawrence County, Ohio, Susan and Harrison have two boys, George and Frank. They were expecting a third child when Harrison left for the Civil War in 1861. Within three months Harrison was dead. Just two weeks after his death, Susan gave birth to their third child. This time a girl was born, Mary Alice Imes. It was November 1861. Here she was, 23 years old with three little children and she was a widow.

In August of 1862 Susan McCarty married Joseph Buffington in Vinton County, Ohio. Together they would have three more children, all boys.  The first of these boys to be born was my Great Grandfather, William Sherman Buffington. I will write more about him at a later time.

In the 1870 census Susan is with the Imes and Buffington children in Jackson County, Ohio. Joseph is not counted with this family.

Joseph Buffington was born in March 1835. Like Susan, I do not know who his parents were.  Joseph Buffington was born in Virginia.  I have found two Joseph Buffington’s enlisted in the Civil War records that could be a possible match, but with limited information on him, I can’t identify a record as his.

Joseph Buffington married Susan McCarty Imes on the 27th of August, 1862. Joseph was on the marriage record as well as the birth and death records of his children; Stephen Edward Buffington, Hiram Buffington and William Sherman Buffington; but I was unable to find him  on a census record.

Joseph was dead by 1880, when Susan was listed as a widow in the 1880 census for Elizabeth, Lawrence County, Ohio. William (my Great-Grandfather) was fifteen years old and working as a laborer. The oldest boy (George Imes) was no longer living with this family. There were five children listed plus a baby named Myrtie. Myrtie was the child of Mary Imes (daughter of Susan McCarty and Harrison Imes).

In 1900 census Susan (McCarty) Buffington was in Scioto County, Ohio with Frank Imes. Frank was one of the sons she had before she married Joseph Buffington. I have not been able to find a death certificate or cemetery record for Susan, but obviously she died sometime after 1900.

I will end this story, just as I titled it, A Genealogist’s work is never done.