Month: July 2020

Kentucky Day 1: Kansas City to Louisville

Bags packed and ready for an adventure, Kim and I left Lake Tapawingo around 11 AM and headed east toward Louisville. Four months into the pandemic, family and friends questioned the sanity of traveling, but we'd missed our Paris trip and promised we'd be careful, social distant, masked, away from crowds. Travelling with Kim is a pleasure; eight hours of road time passed quickly, as we drove through Illinois, a bit of Indiana and finally arrived in Louisville.

We were both excited. Due to the prevalence of the coronavirus, we were able to use Hilton Honors to score free hotel rooms for very few points, and with gas at less than $2 per gallon, this trip was virtually gratis.

We were particularly excited about our stay in Louisville. The historic Seelbach Hotel, former haunting ground of the late, great, F. Scott Fitzgerald, was available at the same rate as a suburban Hampton Inn. Score!

Louisville was also an important stop on our ancestral journey: Simeon Moore, our 5th ggf had been one of the founders of Louisville in 1789. His name appears as one of the original Trustees, and we had located his original plot, one of only a hundred, at the current site of the Kentucky Science Museum.

As soon as we arrived in Louisville, we knew why we'd been able to score the Seelbach at the lowest tier of Hilton point. The hotel is located in the heart of downtown, just half a block from the entertainment district, but we quickly noticed the boarded up storefronts, broken windows and empty streets, other than a heavily armed police presence. What on earth was going on?

Breonna Taylor. I'm going to try to avoiding opining on the situation, other than to say the killing of Breonna Taylor followed a pattern of police aggression toward people of color that became glaringly public during 2020. On March 13, plain-clothed law enforcement executed a no-knock search warrant at Taylor's residence for a person not presently residing there, Taylor's boyfriend shot at the intruders, hitting one officer in the knee, because he feared he and Taylor were being attacked. In the melee that ensued, police shot into the apartment 36 times, unloading five or six shells into Breonna, killing her. There are some allegedly "extenuating" circumstances: the person for whom the warrant was issued had used Taylor's address to receive (what the police said were) suspicious packages. Without commenting on specifics, I will say that I believe no-knock warrants are rarely warranted, but never having served in law enforcement, I cannot say they are never warranted. In this case, its use was ill-advised at best and Taylor's death was absolutely unnecessary. I understand why people were pissed.

That anger led to nationwide protests, including one in Lousville on July 25. The day before we arrived, in the block on which the Seelbach stood, thousands of protesters had taken to the streets.

AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley

We arrived to survey the aftermath. Downtown Louisville looked like a war zone. While I do not condone rioting and violence for any reason, I understand that the damages were caused by a fringe element. The vast majority of the protesters were exercising their First Amendment right to peaceably gather.

The Seebach was, nonetheless, very beautiful. Stepping across its threshold was like walking into another era, and another world. Decorated in high art deco style, it felt miles away from the street outside.

We settled into our room and decided to get a bite to eat. We walked to the entertainment district. Everything was closed. We finally stepped into the Sport & Social Club, had a few drinks and some great food, and went directly back to the Seelbach. We decided to forego seeing Louisville and head directly the next morning to our next destination.


Just like us, Simeon didn't stay in Lousiville for long. He headed to the broader plains of Mercer County, along with his friend and brother-in-law James Harrod. We'll be there in a few days.

Will the Real John Green Please Stand Up?



John Green is the brick wall that won’t crumble.

I had to known down a few to get to him . I should say “we” knocked them down because it’s been a team endeavor. Dr. Watson — or perhaps she’s Sherlock to my Watson — is cousin Kim. Since we first solved the mystery of Lucy Green, we’ve worked our way through her father Erasmus to get to her grandfather, John Green. Or at least we think he’s her grandfather!

This is what we know with certainly: Lucy Green was born to Catharine Jane Moore and Erasmus “E.H.” “Bub” Green on August 22, 1955, in Kingston, Caldwell County, Missouri. Her parents had moved to Missouri in 1855 from Kentucky after having received a U.S. Land Grant. Lucy was the seventh of nine children born to Catharine and Erasmus, and the first born in Missouri. In 1861, Catharine died in childbirth when Lucy was just six years old. Erasmus quickly remarried the widow Virinda Joiner, who left her three boys with her brother-in-law and moved in with the Green family. Erasmus and Virinda soon had another child, Larkin. Erasmus lived until 1880 when he died in Ray County, Missouri (which had been carved out of Caldwell in 1836), with zero assets. His land had either been transferred or foreclosed upon by the bank.

Erasmus and Catharine had married in Mercer County, Kentucky, in 1837, when she was 16 years old, shortly after the death of Catharine’s father, John Moore. John had been a farmer of some substance, and a Revolutionary War veteran. His father Simeon Moore was one of the founders of Louisville and Harroldsville with his brother-in-law James Harrod, who was married to Simeon’s sister Sara. After John’s death, Catharine’s mother, Sarah Moore,consented to the marriage.  Erasmus filed guardianship papers with the probate court so that Catharine’s share of the estate would be paid to him. (Based on what we know, Kim and I are not fans of Erasmus.)

The Moore family’s US heritage is well established, but not so with Erasmus’s.

In 1850, Erasmus is listed as a farmer and merchant in Owen County, Kentucky. There exists a license for E.H. and Paschal Green, and Josiah Moore (Catharine’s older brother), to run a tavern in New Liberty, Owen County, Since Erasmus is know to use the moniker “E.H.” and he lived in Owen County, Kentucky, we will presume that Paschale and Erasmus are brothers. Tracing Paschale is not difficult — born in 1799, he is listed in the Kentucky Biographical Dictionary of 1896 (hereafter “KBD”), after his death but at least during the same century. He married Agnes Blanton, a cousin to the famous Albert Blanton of Buffalo Trace Distillery, and was a Mason of high rank.  According to the KBD, Pascal’s parents were John Green and Anna Rhoderfer, both born in Culpeper Virginia and married in 1796. John Green died in Owen County, Kentucky, in 1817, after Erasmus was born in 1812. DNA further suggests that Paschale is Erasmus’s brother, as both Kim and I share significant DNA with Paschale’s confirmed descendants, and other known siblings of this Green family. This leads us to believe with some certainty that John Green is thus Erasmus’s father.

Sounds simple enough, except there were at least a dozen John Greens living in Virginia in the late 1770s. Some are descended from one Robert Duff Green who came to the United States from Scotland in 1712, at the age of 17. Robert had seven sons, many of whom had sons named John, who also had sons named John. All of the Green progeny were tall and red-headed, and were called the “Red Greens.” There are several notable John Greens of the era. Colonel John Green led the Virginia militia from Culpeper during the Revolutionary War. His remains were reinterred as one of only twelve Revolutionary soldiers at Arlington. Colonel John Green’s son, Lt. John Green, was killed in a duel at Valley Forge. None of these are my John Green, and of all the Green family genealogies and written family trees, this John Green just doesn’t fit. I went to Culpeper early in my genealogy journeys, and there were Greens everywhere. As for Erasmus’s mother Anne or Anna, her name is the perfect example of the fluidity of early American names. It is variously spelled as Rodifer, Rhodefer, Rhodifer, Rhodeheifer, Rhoderfer and probably a few others I’ve forgotten. While the KBD says her birthplace is Culpeper, I believe she was likely born in the Shenandoah Valley, where the family is well established, or Madison County, Virginia, which was carved out of Culpeper County in 1792. \Their marriage certificate was issued in Madison County, Virginia, in 1796, and the 1810 census lists a John Green in Madison, Virginia, with six children, which is roughly equivalent to the older siblings Erasmus had.

In any event, Madison was apparently still considered Culpeper during this era, but it is undetermined whether our John Green belongs to the prominent Culpeper Red Greens, or if he is unrelated.

On top of all of this, another John Green lived in Kentucky as early as 1800, and many of the trees on the internet have conflated even the Kentucky Green families.

So, who is John Green? Kim and I decided that we had to go to Kentucky to see if we could find our John, and any information as to his provenance. While we were there, we would go to Mercer County and walk in the footsteps of the Moore family.

Back to top